Ride sharing service Uber is expanding in Toronto despite still receiving plenty of opposition from numerous parties. The U.S. based company announced today that it is launching its uberPOOL service in Canada’s biggest city from January 13 at 2 p.m.
The uberPOOL service builds on the UberX ride sharing model, allowing customers to spread the cost of a ride by pooling with other riders going on the same route. UberX works more like a traditional taxi service, shuttling one or a group of passengers with the same destination. UberPOOL works by letting customers who would otherwise not know each other pool together on the same route to spread cost, making it as much as 30 per cent more affordable than UberX.
“Our vision for uberPOOL is simple,” the statement said. “We want to reduce the number of cars on the road, while providing Torontonians with transportation that’s more affordable than ever. When two people share their ride, that’s one less car on the road and a cheaper fare for both riders.”
The service will be available between Jane Street and Victoria Park Avenue up to Highway 401, including the Yonge corridor north of the 401 to Finch Avenue between Bathurst Street and Bayview Avenue. Uber says that the service will cost $4 for a minimum fare, with up to two occupants allowed along the same route. If a second passenger joins the route they pay a minimum extra $1, but if no extra passenger arrives, the original occupant who selected the service will get a solo ride at the reduced uberPOOL price.
In recent months Uber has won numerous victories in Toronto, despite still facing fierce opposition and still effectively operating in the city illegally. The city council voted in November to legalize UberX by drawing up legitimate regulations for the service, expected to be completed this year. However, Uber has angered politicians by continuing to operate unregulated in the meantime, while taxi associations are protesting the service for its practices and the threat Uber poses to the traditional taxi industry.
Last week Aviva Canada, the second largest auto insurance provider in Ontario, announced that it will be launching a ride-sharing oriented auto insurance policy next month. The coverage would be for those working less than 20 hours with Uber and other services, potentially clearing up a problem Uber has faced with drivers operating without adequate auto insurance protection.