Toronto’s steep ride-hailing fee hike sent Uber scrambling to raise prices on the app to offset the cost of the increased payments, including a 12 percent price increase within the city limits.
The ride-hailing giant said it is increasing its prices to compensate for Toronto’s “fundamental policy shift” which has prompted a 5 percent increase in the City’s ride-hailing fee and a special four percent cap on pre-trip prices.
Uber warned on Friday of “higher prices and longer wait times,” when customers wait in line for Uber cars. The company urged customers to wait for Uber’s phone app so that it can offer the next available car.
Uber reduced the wait time riders need to wait in line to one minute as of Sunday, July 8.
Similar a fee hikes and regulatory changes are in the works for other cities, including Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
Uber proposed a one-time $5 increase to the city’s required driver starting fees, a 15 percent surge in urban ride-hailing fee, a one percent hike in regional ride-hailing fee and an increase in the city’s annual total ride-hailing contribution.
The company said that it will not raise its base rate in the city. The increase to the city’s street hailing fee, from $7.50 to $9, a 15 percent increase in the city’s contribution and a $40 annual increase in the city’s total contribution to ride-hailing companies.
Ride-hailing companies pay $18 million a year to the City of Toronto to operate in the city, Uber said.
“Toronto’s solution was to penalize ridesharing companies who provide one million rides in Toronto every single day,” the company said in its blog. “This is not a policy that we or anyone else would support. But the Mayor’s solution was worse than that.”
Several Uber drivers in Toronto have turned to self-driving vehicles to get around, frustrated at a lack of availability and fares, according to the company.
The introduction of self-driving cars “is a stopgap measure that only increases transit time, if any. No city in North America is having any luck attracting self-driving companies with ride-hailing. We’re not having success in the United States, so why are we talking about it here,” the company’s blog read.
In a Saturday letter, Uber executives took their case for self-driving cars to the Canadian capital, Montreal, suggesting they could be an important part of Uber’s expansion in Canada.
Canadian transportation officials in Montreal said they won’t consider granting a license for self-driving vehicles until they are perfected.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.