Uber and Lyft say freeze is temporary measure to avoid disruption to ride-hailing operations during winter season

Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences for ride-hailing operations

Uber and its rival, Lyft, are set for yet another day of reckoning, as the taxi industry reacts to the decision by the Toronto Regional Municipality to freeze new licences for ride-hailing operations in the Greater Toronto Area.

Ride-hail applications are being rejected, pending a new application review process.

Uber and Lyft say this is merely a temporary measure, implemented to avoid a disruption to the operations of the ride-hailing companies during the winter season.

On Tuesday, the Toronto Metropolitan Region released the findings of a market study it commissioned regarding the current state of the ride-hailing industry in the GTA.

During the course of the study, TMR researchers found that drivers have to wait up to three times longer in peak times for an available taxi, while waiting to have to wait for an Uber or Lyft in between rides.

The study also found that riders have to wait a full 30 minutes longer than the normal wait time to get a taxi.

Uber’s head of policy, Brian Wice, released the following statement:

“In light of the recent news of our application freeze, we are disappointed with the Toronto Regional Municipality’s decision to hold ride-hailing companies back from competing in Toronto – especially considering the incredible demand that our services are seeing in this city.

We’ve been building our own app and using that app to increase our Toronto presence in the past few months, which is why today’s freezing of our applications is frustrating and disappointing. The TMR is clearly not moving forward on this issue and their proposal to freeze new licences for ride-hailing companies is not what a growing ride-hailing service needs.

We fully realise that the TMR has made some short-term financial decisions that will impact our growth in a short-term way, but the end goal is clear – to make this a great city to ride, and we will not be held back by the short-term concerns of the TMR.

We are currently evaluating all options moving forward, but our long-term vision is to be one of the best ride-hail apps in the world.”

Lyft’s head

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