Uber partnership saves small Ontario town hundreds of thousands of dollars

Published: April 16, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Uber has aggressively built its prescence in Canada, muscling its way into cities without rule or regulation. However, the ride-sharing giant is legal in most of its Canadian markets these days, much to the behest of traditional taxi drivers. Now Uber could be moving towards giving another transport sector headaches.

In a small Ontario town, Uber is being used to highlight how ride-sharing could be the answer to public transport problems. We reported last May on the town of Innisfil, which has a population of 36,000 (despite being the size of Mississauga) and lies just south of Barrie in a rural setting. The town partnered with Uber to brings public transportation replacement to a town that was not well served by buses and taxis.

Instead of paying for new bus routes, the town decided to subsidize Uber rides for its residents. Residents in the town can pay a flat fare of between $3 and $5 for journeys to or from specific destinations within Innisfil. Other non-set destinations in the town are with a $5 fare.

The model also really encapsulates ride-sharing as people usually pool together or are paired together. Mayor Gord Wauchope says the collaboration with Uber was a first in Canada and has ultimately saved the local government hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“For us it’s a great way to operate a transit system here for the present time,” Wauchope said.

“It would have been quite expensive using the regular transit system.”