Toronto-born InstaRyde enters city’s crowded ridesharing market

Afternoon traffic is seen as cars and other vehicles travel northbound on the Don Valley Parkway, in Toronto on March 4, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Dominic Chan

Toronto’s ridesharing scene just got even more crowded with the announcement of the launch of the new Toronto-born InstaRyde Wednesday.

Just over a week after Lyft, an American-based ride-hailing service chose Toronto as its first international launch city, three weeks removed from Toronto company Facedrive Inc. launching their new rideshare service and with the already-established Uber dominating the market, InstaRyde is set to launch Dec. 1.

“Move over Uber, there is a new rideshare in town,” said a statement from InstaRyde.

“We have taken the time to listen to drivers and riders in our city and have developed InstaRyde as the answer,” marketing manager of InstaRyde Naveed Marzook said in the release.

READ MORE: Lyft and Uber to battle each other for drivers and riders in Toronto

According to InstaRyde, new drivers will benefit from bonuses such as $300 for completing 50 rides in 30 days and $100 for each driver referral. They take a flat rate of 99 cents from drivers for every trip and riders will receive incentives such as free rides and gifts.

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The company also said it will be partnering with a local charity and will donate 25 per cent of their proceeds from each ride in December.

“InstaRyde was created in response to the shortcomings of other ridesharing platforms; an on-demand app that puts a safe, reliable and affordable ridesharing experience at the tip of your fingers.”

Facedrive Inc. launched Oct. 30 and Lyft officials said it will begin operating by years’ end.

General manager of Lyft, Tim Houghton, told Global News at the time of their launch announcement that over 50,000 people in Toronto downloaded Lyft in 2017, even though the company wasn’t available in the city yet.

READ MORE: Toronto startup Facedrive launches CO2-conscious rideshare service

“That’s one of the reasons why we’re really excited to come to Toronto,” Houghton said.

While Lyft said it differentiates itself from the competition based on experience and how it treats passengers and drivers, Facedrive Inc. has a more environmentally conscious approach.

Facedrive’s app calculates the estimated CO2 emissions of each ride and then donates an equivalent sum of money to the Toronto Parks and Tree Foundation (TPTF) charity.

Riders are also given the option of choosing between electric vehicles (which won’t partake in the emissions offsetting plan), hybrid and fuel-based cars, and can also pick between sedans and SUVs.
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Susie Heath, spokesperson for Uber Canada, told Global News in a statement, “At Uber, we welcome competition that encourages the use of more transportation alternatives.
“More options can help reduce congestion and pollution as consumers increasingly make the switch from driving their own car to using shared mobility services.”
— With files from Rahul Kalvapalle and David Shum

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