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Uber’s new weapon in the taxi-app battles: free cab rides

Of the several car-hailing apps that have launched in Toronto in the past year, Uber, an app that summons limos, town cars and now taxis, is the most visible—which has made it the logical target of opposition. The Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association, a trade group based out of Maryland, recently sent out a press release to Toronto media saying it “considers certain smartphone apps such as Uber to be ‘rogue’ services operating outside of the public’s best interests,” and argues that those apps violate passenger safety, access, non-discrimination and fare standards. (At least one of those allegations has some weight: Toronto’s director of licensing has said that city staff may soon rule that Uber is operating illegally because it hasn’t yet applied for a limousine service licence.) In the face of that negative press, Uber has found an easy way to maintain goodwill with the public: offer them free rides. For the next three days, anyone using an Uber smartphone app can order a taxi and ride for free, to a limit of $20 per ride. There’s no cap on the number of trips, so order away until Wednesday at 11:59 p.m.

  • Ubernot

    Uber is an illegal unlicensed taxi service, offering free rides to get you as a customer who signs away all rights when you join granting them supreme indemnification contained in the application small print. After the free ride they will charge 20% on top of the meter rate, so use $200 bucks and the free ride is over. And by the way if it’s raining or after hours or New Years Eve they will charge whatever the market will bear by using surge or dynamic pricing. Uber may complain about regulations but city regulations set the standard for fares, ensure drivers are propoerly licensed with inspected approved vehicles. Uber is only a phone app so they leave those standards to their business partners who may or may not be licensed in Toronto. The driver partners say they are licensed then absolve Uber of any problems which may crop up even if they fibbed to Uber about their own license standard.

    Oh, you have a complaint about the service, you can’t phone Uber surprisingly they don’t have a phone number but someone may or may not get back to you by e-mail. Atl east with a cab company you can speak with a live being.

    If Uber is on the level why aren’t they licensed? Why do you sign away yours rights when you join their programme? Why are they at war with the regulator in almost every market they have entered? Oh yeah, notice how the Uber defaults to a black sedan service at twice the meter rate, be careflu when you click or you may be paying a lot more than the taxicab regulated tariff rate…

  • UberFan

    The uber debate lives on thanks to Toronto’s taxi lobby. I’m now a committed uber user and happy to be part of the evolution of this industry. I’ve read the disclaimers and am comfortable that there is no additional risk – the drivers still have to be insured as per the city laws. Give it a shot and make up your own mind.

    Use my referral link below and get an extra $10 credit for use after the free rides run out. And no I don’t work for uber!

  • Ubernot

    The guy who signs up may be licensed but is his cousin, or firend or brother-in law who just got out of jail for sexual assault isn’t licensed. It’s easy to pass on the Uber supplied Smart Phone to anyone. Uber doesn’t care they get 20% more than the meter, if there is a meter.

    Ask yourself, Is the car he shows up with a licensed Toronto taxi vehicle or is the car may or not be licensed somewhere else in the GTA or then again maybe he owns the private car and is using it to take Uber’s clients for a ride.

    Is there commercial insurance or not, spin the wheel take a chance, the operator said he was insured, and Uber believes him. But then again it doesn’t really matter because the Uber customer has indemnified Uber from any responsibility. Take the extra $10 bucks for the referral from the Uber staff member go ahead and don’t bother to put on the seatbelt either what the heck take a chance…

  • Shaun

    I love the taxi lobbyist BS. First off, Uber gives the driver 10%, and they take 10% not the whole 20%. On top of that Uber shows me a picture of the cab driver when I get picked up. If the picture on the phone does not match the driver because it’s his cousin (unlikely) you can refuse the ride.

    The traditional Taxi services in TO are getting burned for their lack of innovation over the past 10 years and they are bitter. Ever tried to pay for a Taxi with a credit card? The drivers pretend that they don’t have a machine or that it is broken. Then, they complain to no end about having to use it over a short distance.

    I love Uber, bring on some competition to our existing poor Taxi situation.

  • Dan Dickinson

    Re: ubernot’s first point, I cannot count the number of times I’ve gotten into a Toronto cab when the driver clearly was not the license holder.

    Also, today I used Uber’s taxi service and the driver could not stop talking about how much he loved working with Uber.

  • Liz Farm

    Uber is the way forward. Took a few free cab rides already this week and spoke with the drivers who unanimously said they were happy with the service. The cab companies have been screwing them for so long, it is about time technology came to the rescue.

    I also used the promocode: UBERTDOT for a free $10 in rides after the free promo is done!

  • FormerUberDRIVER

    I am a native New Yorker, 33 years now.
    I been driving since 1994, done it all, taxis, limos, black cars and stretch limousines.
    First, Uber” On Demand”, just the term simply describes it that it is not prearranged but rather an electronic hail.
    Having worked with Uber, I find it that users have very little regard to taxis, rules and regulations but rather their personal concern of getting transportation.
    Whats the problem with this model?
    1.“1 minute ETA, o minute, 3 minute, 5 min ETsA” are NO Different from street hail.
    2. Other licensed limo and livery companies are governed by a different set of rules, whereas Uber not being governed by similiar standards.
    3. Unfair competition and advantage as a result of those who abide by rules and others as Uber ignoring them.
    4. the industry standard for prearrangement is more like 15minutes and needs to be set as 15minutes. (shall Uber adopt this model, then there should be no issues)
    5. having drivers poised between customers as dispatchers with customers make it unsafe as they are constantly on cellular phones trying to find customer address, location or even describe their vehicle(s).
    6. Uber has vehicles (SUV) which dont even appear to be NYC TLC licensed cars such as a license plate
    7. Unfair for licensed establishments such as Carey, Skyline, Vital, and even the local neighborhood livery services as Uber (out of town, backed by equity) ignores all local laws.
    •not to mention, Uber ignored TLC rules and decided to run their app in NYC without approval.
    Download their APP and it has three choices “taxi, Uberx, Black, SUV”
    I would really appreciate it that this silent street hail offered by Uber to be examined by NYC TLC, and make all prearrangements to 15minute minimum.
    Thank you.
    Having given you all of this information, I hope that the minimum prearrangement set forth by NYC TLC moves to 15minutes and they monitor Uber’s operation and penalize these 0 minute eta, 3 minute eta, 5 minute eta’s which are basically just silent forms of street hail.
    NYC TLC must examine illegal Uber.

  • JackBlack

    This service is great. I got a free ride to work!!! Hailing a cab counldnt be easier and the real jem is the payment methoed. This will no doubt clean up the TAXI service here in TO and get it back to a standard level.

  • UberGo

    Uber just extended the free rides to Friday afternoon so sign-up and enjoy the service. Use this link and get an additional $10 credit for future use.

  • jm

    Uber an is not a taxi cab company, they are a technology company providing taxi/limo drivers with the ability to get more money. great service, definitely recommend it. sign up and get $10 off your first ride!