A hypothetical proposal to keep Uber unlicensed is supported by a majority of Toronto residents, according to a poll.
The Mainstreet/Postmedia survey found a narrow margin between Uber supporters and those who think it should be banned.
The poll found that 45 per cent of Torontonians are in favour of allowing Uber drivers to continue driving without a municipal license, while 37 per cent believe they should be banned. That’s a difference of just eight per cent.
However, when the responses were divided by age, Uber fared much better. Among those 18-24, 73 per cent supported the ride-sharing service, compared with only 22 per cent of those 65 and older.
“While Uber is not universally loved, it continues to find support among a critical mass of Torontonians, especially younger people,” Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet, said in a release.
“Our findings show that most people are paying close attention to the situation between Uber and taxis, with those most aware of the situation favouring Uber. However, Torontonians still hold a generally positive view of taxis.”
“Uber is most popular with a younger, more technologically conscious demographic, almost all of whom have smartphones” Maggi explained. “The generational gap in support for Uber reflects the fact that young people are, quite simply, much more familiar with it.”
The poll also found that Toronto residents feel taxis are safer than Uber vehicles.
While an overwhelming 85 per cent of respondents felt that taxis were safe, only 48 per cent said the same of Uber.
Ultimately, Maggi said, “people want cabs and Uber to get along.”
In Toronto and across the world, Uber is facing backlash from the taxi industry and local governments. There are concerns the service is skirting local bylaws by using a mobile app to charge rides for fares. Toronto will be reviewing its taxi bylaws in September to include services like Uber.