Mobile app showing Uber service in Innisfil

Ontario town hires Uber to provide mobility services

A Canadian town has contracted with Uber to provide transit services.

The town of Innisfil (ON), located north of Toronto, has no transit services except for some regional services. So the town contracted with Uber to provide subsidized transportation for its 36,000 residents.

Trips to certain destinations — such as public buildings and GO  Transit service — will have a flat fare ranging from C$3 to C$5.  Customers will receive a C$5 discount on all other trips. A local taxi company will provide accessible rides.

The town has set aside C$100,000 for the first phase of the pilot program, expected to last about six months.  The funds will cover the difference between the Uber fee and the subsidized fare.

Town officials said that an on-demand service would serve the largely rural town more effectively than creating new bus routes. “We are excited to launch this new solution to provide our residents with safe, accessible, and reliable transportation,” said Mayor Gord Wauchope in a statement. “Rather than place a bus on the road to serve just a few residents, we are moving ahead with a better service that can transport people from all across our town to wherever they need to go.”

The project is not without critics. Local taxi companies are crying foul, saying the new service will cut into their business. And others are raising concerns about the reliance on smart phones and cashless payments. The town has addressed at least one of these concernissues: Customers can summon a trip with a text message.

Once the budget has been expended, town officials expect to analyze the trip data to determine the best mobility solution moving forward. Link to full story in The New York Times.

Image source: Uber

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