The Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) breaks the airport limousine monopoly with a ride sharing pilot project Tuesday that allows passengers travelling to and from Toronto Pearson to request rides through Uber and Lyft. Passengers can now request for an UberX, UberXL or catch a Lyft from the airport for the first time in the GTA.
Riders now have the option to select pick up and drop off zones at which they want to meet their driver or get dropped off. You can get an Uber to downtown (Union Station) with a few taps for as cheap as $33, which is almost half the price that airport taxis charge. Lyft also introduced a new promotion as part of the pilot project which offers riders $10 off their first 5 rides to or from the airport.
Local taxi companies like Beck and Diamond are still not permitted to pick up passengers from the airport. Kristine Hubbard, a spokesperson for Beck Taxi referred to this project as “untimely” because it would increase traffic and congestion by pulling people out of the mass transit system. Hubbard also raised this as a municipal issue, saying, “the City of Toronto should focus on helping local businesses rather than multimillion dollar corporations.” Local taxis still pride themselves on providing a trained driver and a commercially insured vehicle, which they believe differentiates themselves from ride-sharing apps, Hubbard said.
“Following significant demand from our passengers, we believe that a pilot of full ride sharing options is timely at Toronto Pearson, and in line with other airports across Canada and the U.S. already offering this service,” said Scott Collier, Vice President, Customer and Terminal Services, GTAA.” We appreciate the collaboration of the ground transportation industry in sharing their feedback and welcome another opportunity to offer our passengers choice in their transportation options”, he added.
GTAA also consulted other North American airports that have adopted these services to further understand the implications to passengers and operators. They also ensure a thorough monitoring of other transportation services that are available at the airport.
Toronto Pearson International Airport is currently Canada’s biggest and busiest airport, with over 47 million passengers and 49,000 workers last year. Pearson is however not the first Canadian airport to offer ride sharing. Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary all offer this service.