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EXCLUSIVE: Uber preparing to expand ride-share service with UberPool

They’ve ruffled the feathers of the taxi industry and are facing a growing number of legal battles but nothing seems to be stopping Uber Toronto from expanding their ride-share program.

The company is preparing to launch the next phase of services — UberPool.

“Prices are near transit prices so it’s extraordinarily affordable,” Uber general manager Ian Black explained. “You can go from here to downtown for probably $3 to $4 so people love the prices and people love the social experience of it too.”

Through UberPool, users order their ride through the Uber app and along the way to their destination, the car will pick up another passenger heading in the same general direction. The program will save users about 50 per cent off the base fare.

“There’s many trips in Toronto that go from similar start points to a similar end point around the same time every day.”

The company claims UberPool will help create 15,000 jobs province wide in 2015.

Despite the optimism, the company still has a number of legal battles to fight.

A court injunction was filed by the city’s Municipal Licensing and Standards in November, with Uber facing charges for violations of 36 bylaws. Court dates have been scheduled for May.

The city also claims the company’s planned expansion further goes against bylaws.

“The City previously met with Uber to explain the licensing regime that applies to all operators in the taxicab and limousine industry. Uber has elected not to comply with the City’s bylaws, which is why the City commenced the court application,” Tracy Cook, executive director of Municipal Licensing and Standards said in a statement to CityNews. “Uber’s expansion of its business with UberPool is a further contravention of the City’s licensing requirements.”

Uber said they are ready to work with the city hall.

“I think regulation of this industry is the future,” he said.

Yohannis Gebeyehu drove for Uber for two years with his licensed cab but left the service after UberX was launched. He said the company should be regulated.

“UberX especially, they don’t follow the rules,” he said. “We’re governed by rules and regulations… Why not put every one of us on the same regulation?”

Gebeyehu estimates that he has lost a third of his business to UberX.

“They don’t want to be ruled by regulations,” he said. “They want to make more money and they’re killing our business.”

UberPool, which will use new and existing UberX drivers, has already been launched in Paris, New York and San Francisco.

There has been no word on when the service will launch in Toronto.