After years of refusing to acquire a taxi licence in Toronto, Uber will finally get one this week, says the Toronto Star.
Uber spokeswoman Susie Heath told the publication that the company will apply for a taxi licence this Tuesday. However, she also noted that the company’s UberX service won’t be applying for a limousine licence.
Since arriving in Toronto in 2012, Uber came almost immediately under attack from regulators, who said the company was putting its customers in risk by not abiding by taxi regulations. For its part, the company has always claimed that it is a technology company, not a taxi brokerage.
In part, it’s that steadfast refusal to play by other people’s rules that has helped the company gain a $41 billion valuation.
At a Toronto Region Board of Trade breakfast on Monday, Mayor John Tory addressed the Uber situation, saying, “I won’t have the Wild West — I’ve said that many times before — but I won’t have us stuck in the 1970s either.” Tory went on to say that he wants “the Becks and the Ubers and the licence-holders and the drivers to come to the table and do what’s right for the people of this city — the people who are paying the fares.”
Besides Toronto, Uber Canada currently operates in Edmonton, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa and Quebec City. Spats with local officials forced the company to shut down its operations in Calgary and Vancouver.
It remains to be seen if the company will apply for licences in the other Canadian cities. If its past history is any indication, the company generally considers applying for a taxi licence something to be avoided.