Uber, Lyft now welcome at Toronto's Pearson International Airport

Uber and Lyft can now pick up and drop off passengers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport as part of a new pilot project.

Canada’s largest airport had previously only allowed licensed taxis and limos

Looking for a ride to or from the airport? Toronto's Pearson International is now allowing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft as part of a pilot project. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Uber and Lyft can now pick up and drop off passengers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport as part of a new pilot project.

Canada's largest airport announced the pilot on Tuesday morning, noting in a news release there's "significant demand" from passengers for access to ride-hailing services.

Previously, only licensed taxis and limos served the airport, which moved some 47 million passengers last year. The airport's decision to change that could prove controversial.

The City of Toronto has already seen major protests over its decision to allow ride-hailing services, and tension remains high between tech-driven platforms like Uber and the traditional taxi industry.

However, the airport market is clearly lucrative. Police recently issued a warning to weary travellers to look out for unlicensed taxis, dubbed "scoopers," who may be operating with nefarious intentions.   

"We believe that a pilot of full ride sharing options is timely at Toronto Pearson, and in line with other airports across Canada and the U.S. already offering this service," said the airport's vice president of customer and terminal services in the news release.

Other Canadian airports already allow ride-hailing

The City of Toronto created separate rules for the ride-sharing industry, something that prompted protests from taxi drivers and operators. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Lyft Canada's managing director issued a statement saying the company is "thrilled" to be able to operate at the airport.

Passengers "can count on a convenient and affordable Lyft ride to and from the airport," said Lyft's Aaron Zifkin in an email statement.

The airport notes some 200 North American airports already allow ride-hailing, including Canadian airports like Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary.

The airport didn't say how long the pilot will last, but says it will monitor how the changes affect transportation to and from the facility. 

About the Author

John Rieti

John Rieti covers city hall and city issues for CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country in search of great stories. Outside of work, catch him running or cycling around, often armed with a camera, always in search of excellent coffee.

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