uber Toronto

New Uber apps could be more trouble for Toronto taxis

Despite Toronto's taxi drivers' efforts, it seems like yesterday's protest was - and continues to be - a PR boon for Uber.

What many might not know is that Uber has been rolling out new services south of the border that may cause even more headaches for city hall and local transportation industries.

In Seattle, the company just launched an app called UberHOP. This mass transit alternative lets those traveling in the same direction share an Uber ride in a black SUV with up to five other passengers. Much like a bus route, the app tells users where to hop on and later drops them off in a pre-designated spot. Each ride will cost $5.

In Chicago, Uber is rolling out UberCOMMUTE, which is a carpooling like service. With it, those who drive to work can opt to pick up passengers on their commute. The draw? They can make a little extra money along the way. A similar product, UberPOOL, is already popular in San Francisco.

With the recently announced High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes it's not hard to see future demand for these services. For those who drive solo, having the option to create a carpool will likely be enticing.

When reached for comment on plans to roll out these service to the Toronto market, an Uber Canada spokesperson said the company didn't have any news to share. However, it's easy to see these apps fitting in here.

In August, Matt Buchanan wrote a piece for The Awl called "Uber's Endgame," in which he outlined the potential for Uber to eventually provide its own privatized mass transit system.

As city hall works toward finalizing its report on how to best regulate the ride-sharing service it needs to be looking at what Uber is doing in these other cities beyond the basic Uber and UberX offerings. A report that doesn't address the entirety of Uber's expected product roadmap won't do anyone any good.


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