Thanks to Toronto’s growing sharing economy, getting around is now easier than ever. The ride-sharing industry has ascended to polarizing levels of popularity faster than anyone could have anticipated and it looks like it’s here to stay.
Boasting both convenience and cost-efficiency, ride-sharing giants like Uber, Toronto Bike Share and new kid on the block Turo (peer-to-peer car rentals popular in Chicago, Los angeles, and other U.S. cities) cater to millennials by giving them what they need when they need it, without having to make a long-term commitment.
This year, ride-sharing has endured incessant controversy, harsh criticism, and a ban in Mississauga. Still, legislative efforts to police the movement have been to no avail, as the popular apps have cemented themselves as transportation staples for young commuters.
Let’s take a look at how Torontonians are getting around:
By urban-cycling standards, Toronto is a relatively bicycle-friendly city (debatable depending on who you ask). So it’s no surprise that Bike Share Toronto has such a strong following.
Members of Bike Share Toronto get year round access to specially designed, heavy-duty bicycles 24/7. The bikes are locked to docking stations around the city, making pick-ups and drop-offs convenient for downtown commuters.
After Bike Share’s initial success, the government agreed to invest almost $5 million into its expansion, meaning that Bike Share members will see 1,000 new bikes and 120 new stations around the city this year.
The new bikes will be sourced from the same supplier as more developed bike shares in Montreal, New York, and London, hinting at future possibilities for Toronto’s booming bike share culture.
Toronto taxi rates are among the highest in the world so it’s no surprise that people have flocked to cost-effective alternatives like Uber, where riders are charged up to 30% or 50% less (in some cases).
But beyond dollars and cents, ride sharing keeps less cars on the road. Where taxis are notorious for idling, Uber drivers are only on the road upon request. Furthermore, Pool and Hop features connect riders travelling in the same direction for a discounted rate.
Ride-sharing looks good from the driver’s seat as well. Though compensation isn’t above average, Uber provides drivers with the autonomy to create their own work hours.
Though Uber is Toronto’s foremost ride sharing app, there are rivals on the horizon, most notably Google’s Waze, which will offer fixed fares under $10.
Waze’s focus will be lowering user costs. In fact, their rate is tailored after what the IRS recommends companies reimburse their employees for business-related travel. Though it may seem as though ride sharing has already blown up to its full extent, developments like this show that it is just getting started.
Would you lend your car to a complete stranger? Since launching in April, Turo has introduced peer-to-peer car sharing to Ontario, Alberta, and Quebec.
Much like homes on Airbnb, users list their car on the app for pre-approved users to rent. By giving people a secure platform to earn money off of a depreciating asset, Turo is quickly reinventing the economics of car ownership.
Turo’s CEO says that they are hoping to help people “turn their car from a cost center into an earnings engine, and helping travelers find the best car to travel.” Amidst the innovation, it also doesn’t hurt that Turo is 30% cheaper than a traditional rental agency.
How do you get around Toronto? How will the TTC keep up with such innovative platforms?