Uber, the global car-hailing service, has fought its way into resistant cities around the world, despite being hit by raw eggs and rush-hour roadblocks in Montreal and Toronto, fires in Paris and smashed windshields in Mexico City.
But in Innisfil, a small yet sprawling Canadian town north of Toronto, the company has met a somewhat different reception. Town leaders have embraced the service as an alternative to costly public transportation, causing local taxi companies to worry about the effect on their business.
Innisfil is a rural quadrilateral-shaped town of about 104 square miles, on the southwestern shore of Ontario ’s Lake Simcoe. It has no public transportation other than stops on a regional bus line. This week, the town inaugurated a pilot program for what Uber says is its first full ridesharing-transit partnership, providing subsidized transportation for the town’s 36,000 people.
“It’s better value for money than a traditional transit system,” Tim Cane, Innisfil’s manager of land use planning, said in a telephone interview.
The town has set aside 100,000 Canadian dollars (about $74,000) for the pilot program, paying Uber that amount to subsidize rides. The money will cover the difference in the cost of a ride and a fixed rate paid by […]