Amidst its plethora of legal issues, driver blow-backs and CEO outbursts, popular car-hailing service Uber has struck up a partnership with the Town of Innisfil, Ontario, to fix its troubled transit problem.
The council approved a deal in March 2017 to implement a test program with Uber that would see its residents call for transit versus the town building up its own transit system, which would cost upwards of $300,000 CAD.
Stage one of the program is targeted to launch May 1st and would see $100,000 allocated for 6 to 9 months, then stage two would be implemented in 2018 with a budget set aside of $125,000.
Innisfil’s Mayor Gord Wauchope stated the town will subsidize riders, who will pay between $3 and $9 per trip depending on the destination. Innisfil’s population is approximately 36,000.
“To run a transit system in a town at this present time is too expensive. You’d have a lot of taxpayers paying taxes on a transit system they wouldn’t even be able to use…We all know transit systems lose money. This way we’re going to lose some money but it’s not going to be in the hundreds of thousands, it’s going to be $100,000 maybe $125,000,” said Wauchope. “This was a great way to have everyone in the town participate in using the Uber system … Hopefully it will be a great benefit for the town of Innisfil and its residents.”
On a positive note, the town is refunding all 2017 taxi licensing fees and will continue discussions with taxi owners “to execute a Partnership Agreement for the provision of accessible rides during Stage 1 of the ridesharing transit service in Innisfil.”