It seems when it comes to Uber, consumers are more worried about their own problems than those of the taxi industry, with Toronto area residents more concerned about the safety of UberX and not worried at all about the impact the US company is having on the traditional taxi industry.
Uber operates in Toronto and across Canada without municipal regulations, making it effectively an illegal operations. While passengers are not breaking the law by using the service, which connects them with freelance drivers through a smartphone app, they are concerned about safety. That’s according to Environics Research Group, which surveyed consumers in the Greater Toronto Area.
The results show that 56 per cent of those asked support Uber if they have used the service before, while 49 per cent of those who have never used Uber support the company. The independent results confirmed that 60 per cent of all who were asked were at least concerned about the lack of regulation support for the UberX service, and are also concerned about the potential safety issues of uninsured Uber drivers.
“We know how the taxis feel, we know that the city is spending a lot of time right now researching and developing policy, we know how Uber feels and what they are experiencing. The voice we felt we weren’t hearing was that of residents and users and people living in the municipalities where the service is either being accessed or being considered within the larger transportation system,” said Environics vice-president Jodi Shanoff.
Consumers generally do not differentiate between Uber and taxi drivers in terms of safety, with only 15 per cent of those who have used Uber saying it is safer than a cab.
Although people will rely on Uber itself to provide some safety assurances, Shanoff said, “Ultimately people are going to rely on the city to establish the regulatory framework that’s going to give the sense of security that there’s accountability and recourse in the event that there are safety issues with the service.”