Ridesharing apps are partly to blame for growing traffic congestion in Toronto, according to a new report.
The report by Ryerson University’s Urban Analytics Institute found the regulations for vehicle-for-hire services such as Uber and Lyft haven’t had the intended effects, such as controlling traffic congestion and emissions.
The services have snatched up more than 20 million trips away from public transit each year, according to researcher Yemi Adediji. She said the city’s approach to regulating ridesharing has failed to meet its own objectives.
“Those goals that the city has set — including better air and more efficient transportation and better safety outcomes for people who live, work and visit the city of Toronto are less likely to be accomplished given the outcomes,” Adediji said.
Beck Taxi operations manager Kristine Hubbard said she doesn’t necessarily want a limit on vehicle-for-hire drivers, but rather a dynamic, demand-based cap.
“When there are too many drivers and not enough riders, that’s when the apps should be able to say, ‘Okay, we’ve reached our limit. You’ll have to log in some other time,’” Hubbard said.
In a statement to Global News, Lyft said, in part, “All Lyft rides are carbon neutral, and Lyft is helping to reduce dependence on personal car ownership through encouraging the use of public transit and Shared rides.”
While taxis are limited to about 5,000 licences, there are an estimated 70,000 licences that have been issued to private vehicles, which don’t have a cap.
The City of Toronto had completed its own study in partnership with the University of Toronto on vehicle-for-hire services that found, despite a 96 per cent increase in use over a 1.5-year period, there were minimal changes in travel times.
The Ryerson report was before the city’s licensing committee on Monday.
WATCH: (May 26) Experts warn self-driving vehicles could clog up Canada’s streets. Jamie Mauracher reports.