New app gives taxi drivers Uber like service

Published: December 23, 2015

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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A new app being developed by taxi drivers aims to combat the rise of Uber in Canada, a clear case of if you can’t beat them you should join them. Taxi associations and drivers across the country have fought the rise of the Uber X ride sharing application that they see as a threat to the taxi industry. While governments also combat Uber, increasingly the company is being accepted and regulations considered for its operation.

After protests, legal battles, and consumer warnings, taxi drivers are left with options. However, a new app called The Ride aims to take the fight back to Uber’s doorstep by offering a very similar service to consumers.

Like the Uber X service, customers sign up to the app with a profile and use their device GPS to locate and hail taxi vehicles, with the price and waiting times given before getting into the vehicle. Unlike Uber, The Ride will also offer consumer options in the form of information on other public transport with prices and wait times. There is a $2 charge that is prefixed for using the service to hail a taxi.

“There have been a lot of players in the taxi industry saying this is needed as part of a solution to compete against Uber,” said Nick Quain, CEO of Toronto-based CellWand Communications, the company behind the app.

“What we did is combine that with transit options. So that in Edmonton you’re talking about bus and LRT,” said Quain. “We’re really an aggregation of all your transportation options.”

Just two weeks ago Downtown Toronto was brought to a standstill by protesting taxi drivers, while it was a similar story in Edmonton in April. However, the protests are thought to have backfired in the consumer space as customers continue to embrace the UberX model despite the fact it is operating in Canada illegally.

Toronto became the first city to vote for regulating Uber, but the changes are not expected until next year, while the city promised more traditional taxis and easier routes to licenses in a bid to protect the industry. Arguably The Ride and any future apps like it pave the best path for the taxi industry in the long term as instead of combating Uber taxi services will actually be using the model to enhance their own business.