After protests and trying to kick UberX out of the business, Beck Taxi, which has the largest number of taxis in North America, has started a petition urging city hall to lower prices.
The petition comes just as city council is discussing how to regulate ride-sharing services such as Uber.
UberX drivers are not licensed or regulated, and therefore have cheaper services.
Beck is looking to decrease the flat pick-up fee from $4.25 to $3.25 and the in-transit fare of 25 cents for every 0.143 kilometres travelled.
Kristine Hubbard, operations manager for Beck, gives her reason for wanting lower prices on the petition page.
“We know that Toronto taxis are some of the most expensive in North America, “ writes Hubbard. “It’s unfair to passengers and, as they look for cheaper options, it hurts taxi drivers.”
While many people are switching from traditional taxis to Uber because of the price difference, there are other significant reasons for the change as well.
A loyal UberX user, Tasha Noronha, would not go back to using taxis even if their prices were to decrease.
“Compared to all the other things that Uber has to offer in terms of safety, navigational ability, accessibility, and convenience, regular taxis need to do a lot to catch up to them,” says Noronha, a third-year International Development student.
Many taxi drivers have switched over to Uber, and others who have full-time jobs, work for Uber on the side since they can choose their own hours.
“Taxi companies could have lowered their fees and provided better service long before Uber came around,” says Abdullah Sarwari, an Uber driver.
Beck Taxi’s petition may be the start to more affordable and improved services but they seem to have a long way to go before being real competition for UberX.
“Most passengers I’ve had have said that since they started using Uber, they will never go back to taking a taxi again,” says Sarwari. “Uber will just continue to grow and taxi companies will have to adapt to survive.”