It’s been a big week for ride hailing services in Canada, as Uber scored a huge victory in Ottawa when city council passed a law that will make apps like Uber legal in Canada’s capital come September. This move has upset many cab drivers, some of whom have worked for years to afford valuable taxi licenses, but the decision has other ride hailing services salivating at this big potential market.
Lyft isn’t anywhere near as big as Uber, but it just might be its biggest competitor, even though Lyft only operates in a little over 200 cities, in the US. However, Lyft has a history of letting Uber fight legal and regulatory battles, and then moving in, as the company did in Las Vegas back in September 0f 2015.
Back in February, when the Alberta government was considering regulating services like Uber, the company said Calgary was a good fit for Lyft, but that there were no plans in place to launch in Canada. Shortly afterwards, Alberta abandoned plans to legalize Uber, and Lyft backtracked quickly as well.
In the wake of the legalization of Uber in Ottawa, and talks in Toronto moving towards the same end, Lyft’s Senior Director of Federal and International Government Relations Mike Masserman said the company sees tremendous opportunity in a set of regulations, but that there are no immediate plans to launch in Toronto either.
In any event, surely anyone with an interest in the success of ride hailing services will be watching the discussions in Toronto closely, and all bets are off if Toronto legalizes Uber and its contemporaries.