Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Uber could raise prices if it must rely on existing drivers
The CEO of Uber has warned the ride-hailing company could raise prices and longer waits for passengers in Toronto in the event of a limit on new licence plates.
David Harding also said the city’s decision “represents a very serious challenge” to Uber in Canada.
Toronto announced on Monday it would cancel licences for private-hire vehicle drivers altogether from the new year.
It has previously done so only for cars owned by Uber and one of its competitors, Cabify.
Toronto’s city council voted to freeze private-hire car licences.
Uber’s services used by employees
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Private-hire car drivers pay $150,000 to renew a licence every two years
The exact number of Uber’s drivers and how many it uses are not public information, and there is no indication how many private-hire drivers work for it in Toronto.
Founded in San Francisco in 2009, Uber has expanded from its first city, San Francisco, to more than 600 cities worldwide.
Its drivers are not licensed by, or regulated by, cities.
An Uber driver is often the same person who owns a vehicle and usually drives several vehicles.
They often drive for multiple private-hire car companies at any one time.
Uber’s technological changes
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption An Uber employee drives a Volvo on a trip from San Francisco to New York in 2009
Uber relies on part-time drivers who work under contract for pay. Many of these drivers are based in smaller cities where independent workers are allowed to work long hours, sometimes up to 72 hours a week.
On Monday, Toronto announced it would keep licensing drivers and set minimum hours. It will also offer a reward to anyone driving drivers to work longer hours.
Meanwhile, Uber’s service has changed in a way that brings the company into closer competition with the companies it used to partner with.
Previously, Uber rented cars that could take passengers from place to place. But after Mr Harding’s announcement, Uber was banned from renting or leasing cars in Toronto.
Uber now leases its cars to drivers, with drivers getting to use the cars they have leased.
In Toronto, Uber announced two weeks ago that it would lower its prices by 20% as part of the company’s plans to lower prices in different regions of the world.
In some areas of Toronto, the prices have already dropped by up to 40%.