Uber Now Offering Rides In Niagara Region

Nov 18, 2015 11:14 AM EST | Sonja Killebrew

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Uber has launched it's ride sharing service in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where it faces competition from underground cab programs, according to Brock Press.

Among these competitors is Speedy, which ushers anyone to any destination in the city for a flat rate of $8, reported Vice. Customers request a car and give their address, and then the dispatcher sends a car to their destination. The service is used commonly by drunk party-goers.

With Uber arriving, people may turn to the famous app rather than call the illegal speedy cabs, as the drivers don't pay taxes. One speedy cab driver was excited about making the switch to become an Uber driver.

"A lot of drivers are talking about it and I definitely want to," an anonymous speedy cab driver said in a Vice interview. "You make way more money and it's just much more convenient for people. No wasted group of frat kids is going to want to play around with a weird phone number when they can just press a few buttons on their phone and put it on their credit card."

Despite the excitement about Uber coming to Ontario, the Niagara Regional Police made it clear that Uber would be investigated, according to Brock Press. Superintendent Scott McLean stated that Uber taxi is not in compliance with regional bylaws, and if a citizen complains about the service, officers will investigate and enforce the law.

Licensed taxi drivers are also concerned about Uber's arrival, noted Channel Zero. Central Taxi driver Abdiel Hernandez said that Uber is the same as the illegal speedy cabs.

“I’m a little concerned, because this is speedy, an illegal taxi operation on an app," Hernandez said. “If you classify Uber as a taxi today, they’re not compliant with our licensing bylaws.”

Vaughn Stewart, a member of the Niagara Regional Police licensing committee, agree with the licensed taxi drivers.

“If a company wants to transport people they need to be licensed,” Stewart said. “According to our bylaw, they would be in contravention."

Uber remains optimistic about their presence in the Canadian city, with Susie Heath, an Uber Canada spokeswoman, stating that the company is delighted with the headway they have made in Niagara Falls.

“We have been pleased with the progress that we have seen across the province as communities have embraced ride sharing,” Heath stated. “The Region of Waterloo is currently consulting on a new bylaw they have drafted that seeks to embrace ride sharing; the City of Ottawa will be reporting back on their study of ride sharing in December; and both the City of London and the City of Toronto recently voted in favor of studying ride sharing with the intent of creating a new regulatory framework.”

Uber will compete with speedy taxis and licensed cabs for customers who weigh whether they will save money using taxi companies or the new ride-sharing app.

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