To gauge the disparity in rates and wait times, Global News planned two trips between Global Saskatoon at 218 Robin Cres. and the Remai Modern art gallery downtown.
An Uber at 11:30 a.m. from the station to the art gallery cost $12.60, while a Comfort Cab taxi for the return trip was $15.75.
The prices were virtually unchanged around 1:15 p.m. when a taxi drove from Global Saskatoon to the Remai Modern and an Uber conducted the trip back.
Uber has faced criticism for using surge pricing during peak hours, meaning fares go up based on demand. Costs to the consumer could be significantly higher on a Friday or Saturday night compared to a weekday during the day.
During the morning trip, the taxi took about six minutes to arrive, while the Uber took eight minutes.
“As more drivers come sign up to meet demand, wait times and reliability will continue to improve,” Uber spokesperson Jean-Christophe de Le Rue said in a statement.
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In the afternoon, the taxi had a five-minute, 30-second wait time. An Uber driver accepted the fare and then cancelled, meaning more than 13 minutes went by before a vehicle arrived at the Remai.
“Uber driver-partners might cancel a ride for reasons outside of our control,” De Le Rue said.
“Uber monitors cancellation rates to ensure that drivers are providing quality service.”
Each Uber driver chatted with the Global News reporter, explaining why he chose to enter the service, which was the subject of fiery city council meetings prior to Monday’s launch.
The first driver is on leave from his role as a facility caretaker and wanted to try Uber to make some money on the side. The second driver works weekends as a welder, and plans to drive for Uber from Monday through Thursday.
He also delivers for Uber Eats and keeps candy in his centre console.
Drivers are allowed to pick up customers and drive them to the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport, but airport pickups aren’t happening yet.
“Presently, riders can use Uber for an affordable trip to the airport. We hope to be permitted to do pickups at the airport in the near future,” De Le Rue said.
To get the lowest price to the airport, Uber recommends entering 2625 Airport Dr. as the destination address.