How will Uber fare after Toronto’s changes?

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Uber in Toronto are letting would-be drivers know of the increased costs

Uber is warning of higher fees and longer wait times for drivers following the city of Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences.

Passengers will also face fees of up to $170 (£125) per day for rides booked online.

Uber said the increases are needed to help pay for the new safety measures to boost insurance coverage.

The debate over how to regulate ride-hailing businesses is now in the hands of the courts.

What are the changes?

The city of Toronto has decided to cap the number of new ride-hailing vehicles in Toronto at 4,500, for two years.

In order to comply with the decision, Uber said it would increase charges to drivers in Toronto from an average of $1.19 per ride to $2.40 to $2.83 per ride.

In addition, it plans to increase the costs of insurance, driving permits and vehicle inspections.

The prices for rides booked online will be $1.70 and $2.25 respectively, according to Toronto-based Uber Canada.

Uber said rides made using the app that are eligible for e-hail insurance – which covers injuries and thefts in the event of accidents – will be covered for $20 per passenger.

The cost of drivers having to bring their own policies to the office will rise to $50 per day.

The company said the costs are needed to fund upgrades to its insurance coverage and driving permits – which include the cost of a physical maintenance certificate and a decal that shows the car is properly maintained.

The company also noted that some services may be temporarily unavailable as it works with its drivers to implement the new pricing.

What does this mean for passengers?

Uber said the changes will help ensure drivers can safely drive.

It said the change would also provide an increased safety measure by improving the minimum protection plan for drivers.

In addition, it will introduce a twice-monthly inspection process to ensure vehicles are properly maintained.

Uber said they were still communicating with the Mayor and the city council about how the changes will be implemented.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Uber has also added some new safety features

Image copyright AFP Image caption The ride-hailing company has already completed two installations of panic buttons

Who are Uber and how is the debate playing out?

Uber is the biggest of the ride-hailing services, with 1.6 million drivers in over 80 countries.

In a statement, Uber said: “There are protections in place in Toronto for both drivers and riders that can provide greater safety for everyone.”

The company has already completed two installations of panic buttons – which connect with the driver’s smartphone app – which are designed to help customers contact a driver immediately in case of an emergency.

It’s also partnered with online messaging and short messaging service WhatsApp to make emergency contact easier.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Uber currently operates in Toronto, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Reading, Brighton, Edinburgh, Leeds, Cardiff, Dublin, and Glasgow

What do passengers think?

Elijah Black, a New Yorker who has been an Uber user since 2013, said he thinks the price hikes are bad for passengers.

“I don’t think it will work,” he said. “I really don’t. And I think in the end customers will drop off.”

Simon.Underwood, who lives in New York, said he was happy with the current service and not worried about any increased costs.

“I’ve used Uber for like two years and haven’t really gotten anything wrong,” he said.

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