Most Torontonians want Uber drivers held to same standards as cab drivers: poll
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Friday, August 21, 2015 5:59AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 21, 2015 11:30AM EDT
The majority of Torontonians want the city to establish new ridesharing regulations that would effectively hold Uber X drivers to the same standards as licenced cabbies, according to a new poll from Mainstreet Research.
The automated telephone poll of 7,323 Canadians found that support for Uber is particularly strong in Toronto with 45 per cent of respondents in the city saying that they believe drivers should be allowed to operate without a taxi licence compared to the 37 per cent who said that Uber drivers should be required to have a taxi licence and the 18 per cent who offered no opinion.
However, the poll also found that most Torontonians (63 per cent) are in support of creating ridesharing regulations that would apply to services like Uber while only a small percentage of residents (14 per cent) believe Uber drivers should not have to follow ridesharing regulations that would hold them to the same standards as taxi drivers.
Support for new ridesharing regulations governing services like Uber was consistent across Canada with respondents in Edmonton (66 per cent), London (64 per cent), Montreal (63 per cent), Quebec City (60 per cent) and Ottawa (58 per cent) all backing the idea.
Meanwhile, when it came to allowing Uber X drivers to operate without a taxi licence in the interim Torontonians were generally more supportive of the stance than other Canadians.
In London, where Uber only recently set up shop, a total of 47 per cent of respondents said that its drivers should not be allowed to operate without a taxi licence and in Quebec City, Ottawa and Edmonton a plurality of respondents also said that Uber drivers should be prohibited from operating without a taxi licence.
“While Uber has the edge in Toronto, the battle hasn’t been won yet. Torontonians are clearly sympathetic to the ride sharing service, and like it better once they get to know it. But feelings toward taxis are still positive and people want cabs and Uber to get along,” Mainstreet president Quito Maggi said in a press release accompanying the poll. “Uber needs to walk a fine line of expansion and conciliation if it wants to build and maintain support in this city.”
More respondents feel safe in a cab than in an Uber
Uber X, which allows drivers to use their own personal vehicles to pick up fares, has faced relentless criticism from taxi drivers who say the service presents a safety risk for its users.
In the Mainstreet Research poll, respondents were quizzed about a range of issues concerning Uber, including just how safe the service is.
The results show that a slight plurality of Torontonians (48 per cent) believe Uber is either very safe or somewhat safe while 31 per cent think it was very unsafe or somewhat safe. When it comes to cabs, however, about 85 per cent of respondents said they thought the service was very safe or somewhat safe while just 12 per cent said that it was very unsafe or somewhat safe.
Those between the ages of 18 and 34 (56 per cent) and 35 to 49 (54 per cent) were much more likely to consider Uber to be a safe mode of transportation than older demographics.
Likewise, those who said they were following the Uber issue closely were also more likely to consider the service safe (58 per cent).
“Uber is most popular with a younger, more technologically conscious demographic, almost all of whom have smartphones,” Maggi said in the press release. “The generational gap in support for Uber reflects the fact that young people are quite simply, much more familiar with it.”
In July, councillors voted for a crackdown on Uber, while at the same time agreeing to a review of the city’s current rules governing ground transportation to try and create a single bylaw to cover both conventional taxis and Uber vehicles.
For its part, Uber has said that it would be open to participating in the creation of new ridesharing regulations to cover the Uber X service.
The poll was conducted on Aug. 12 and 13 and its Toronto data is considered accurate to within 2.52 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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