Tory says no plans to stop Uber ahead of new rush-hour carpool service

The day before Uber launches another new service in Toronto, Mayor John Tory says it would be impractical for the city to try shutting down the ride-sharing company's operations.

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Uber is launching uberHOP in Toronto on Tuesday, aimed at helping move people between the downtown financial district and three popular destinations, for a flat rate of five dollars.

Users of the service will join up to four other commuters to share a ride into or out of the city's Financial District and three other central areas: CityPlace, the Distillery District, Fort York and Liberty Village.

From 7 a.m. until 10 a.m. drivers will take passengers into the Financial District using larger vehicles and SUVs. And from 4:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m., uberHOP will offer rides out of the district.

UberHOP will be free for the first week.

In his comments Monday, Mayor Tory said it would be pointless to try judging the impact of the service that he says provides another option for commuters.

Toronto is only the second city to test out the new program. The company also launched uberHOP in Seattle on Dec. 10.

According to a press release from the company, uberHOP's flat-fee averages out to be 40 per cent cheaper than the company's uberX option.

This isn't the first time Uber has chosen Toronto to experiment with new initiatives.

Last week, the company expanded UberEATS in the city, quadrupling the food delivery service's operating hours and launching a new stand-alone app.

But not every Torontonian has welcomed the company's presence.

Last Wednesday, local taxi drivers held a 12-hour protest calling for the city to crack down on Uber.

The massive demonstration held up traffic on major routes, and led to the arrest of one driver.

A police officer was also injured when a cab struck his bike.

The taxi industry has tried to compete with Uber in other ways as well. On Nov. 1, the base cab fare dropped by one dollar from $4.25 to $3.25, and on Monday the taxi industry unveiled a new app called ‘The Ride.’

Now, the uberHOP launch has caught the attention of the city's public transit commission.

Brad Ross, the head of corporate communications at the TTC said the commission plans to "review" uberHOP and how it could impact transit in the city.

The City of Toronto Act clearly says the TTC is responsible for all public transit, Ross said.

He added that 1.8 million people currently take the TTC every weekday.

For his part, Mayor Tory said City of Toronto lawyers are gathering evidence about Uber's business and its impact, but are not yet recommending a second attempt to seek an injunction that would shut it down.

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Toronto


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