Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences

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The ride-hailing firm expects fares to rise and drivers to be blamed for longer and more complex journeys

Uber warns of higher prices and longer wait times following Toronto’s decision to freeze new licences

Taxi drivers set to face more competition in Toronto have taken credit for the city’s decision to suspend the issuance of new cabs licences for two years.

Uber hopes to use the move as a direct challenge to the Ontario government, which introduced a law last week providing incentives for taxi companies to pull drivers off the road.

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On Monday, Uber announced that prices in Toronto will go up and the ride-hailing firm will take more money from drivers in what it warned would be a tougher economy.

The company said that during the suspension, travellers will still be able to hail UberX rides from licensed and non-licensed taxi companies, meaning drivers will keep their licences but not earn new ones.

The company could face more competition if Toronto revokes licenses of cabbies who have stopped driving during the suspension, which they did on Monday.

The city’s acting transportation minister said on Monday that Uber is undermining the taxi industry in Toronto.

“What Uber has done by coming forward is basically taken a bunch of taxis and said there’s nobody left out there that’s going to drive you home,” councillor Josh Matlow said.

The company does not have access to many of the 2,500 licences expired or handed out during the licence freeze, likely because many new ones have already been given out, Uber spokesman James Atkinson said.

The city’s interim mayor said Uber is attacking the city and “people who were doing a great job”.

“There was some good work being done with taxi industry and, to a certain extent, we’re sort of being attacked by a competitor, but that was always our plan,” John Tory said.

Uber now faces a few months of trying to establish its business model in Canada’s most populous city, while pressuring the provincial government to make the Uber platform more reliable.

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government scrapped a plan last year that would have forced Uber to carry insurance required by the province for taxis. The city of Ottawa was also reviewing its laws.

“We’re not going to stop now,” Atkinson said. “We don’t want to choke off the livelihoods of some of the people who are having hard time at the moment.”

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