Taxi-hailing app Uber has shown a remarkable willingness to fight everyone at the same time.
Fresh off the heels of an aggressive protest held by the taxi industry in Toronto that saw a cab driver attack an Uber car, the company has now set its sights on public transit. This week saw the launch of uberHOP, a ride-sharing program tied to four pre-determined routes in the city which carries a flat fee of $5. Essentially, it works the same as taking the bus. Users just have click the uberHOP option within the app to request the route closest to them. Then they can walk to the pickup location and a driver will meet them there in a vehicle with other passengers.
The service operates exclusively during rush hour (7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and all the routes, for now, lead to and from the financial district. You can check out what’s available so far right here.
“With uberHOP, we hope that Torontonians will rely more on ridesharing and less on their personal vehicles to help reduce traffic congestion in our city,” the company writes on its website.
Toronto is one of the first cities to pilot the service. And although there are many residents who would definitely be keen on any alternative to the streetcar, tension is already building.
Just like with the cab industry, the Toronto Transit Commission is NOT happy with Uber’s latest service, and has actually launched a legal review to determine if uberHOP infringes on its monopoly. Mayor John Tory, however, seemed to have more of a pragmatic response.
“This is a marketplace response to a reality which is there are places in the city that are not as well served by public transportation as they need to be,” he said. “The notion of just shutting Uber down when it has 300,000 users plus and 15,000 drivers in Toronto is not a proposition that is really practical.”
So whether you like it or not, it looks like uberHOP is here to stay.