Toronto

Poll finds Toronto residents support Uber, but think taxis are safer

Many Torotonians support Uber, a new poll finds, even though they still like traditional taxi cabs and think they’re the safer option.

Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds young riders are biggest supporters of ride-sharing

Almost half of the Torontonians polled by Mainstreet/Postmedia say they think Uber should be allowed to continue operating. (The Canadian Press/CBC)

Many Torontonians support Uber, a new poll finds, even though they still like traditional taxi cabs and think they're the safer option.

The poll, by Mainstreet/Postmedia, found that 45 per cent of Torontonians want Uber drivers to be allowed to drive without a municipal license. On the other side, 37 per cent said they should be banned.

"While Uber is not universally loved, it continues to find support among a critical mass of Torontonians, especially younger people," said Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet, adding many are paying "close attention" to how the issue plays out.

The City of Toronto sought an injunction against Uber, the popular ride-sharing service, but was denied. Currently, city staff are exploring options when it comes to regulating the service. Mayor John Tory, who has backed Uber, has said the city needs to "level the playing field" when it comes to the ground transportation industry.

Meanwhile, some taxi drivers have lashed out at UberX drivers on the streets, claiming they've stolen nearly half of their fares.

Young, tech-savvy Torontonians are fuelling Uber's rise, Mainstreet found, with 73 per cent of those 18-34 supporting Uber compared to just 22 per cent of those over 65.

However, traditional taxis are still overwhelmingly seen as the safer option. Mainstreet found 85 per cent of respondents said taxis were safe, while just 48 per cent believed Uber is safe.

Torontonians also want to see reform in the taxi industry, the poll found. Some 70 per cent said they're following the debate around Uber and 44 per cent said they're in favour of abolishing the current city-regulated taxi system.

That doesn't mean the end of cabs, however. "People want cabs and Uber to get along," Maggi said.​

Mainstreet polled 7,323 Canadians via phone, both landline and mobile, from Aug. 12-13. All of the people lived in one of six cities where Uber operates: Toronto, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City and London, Ont.

The polling company said results were weighed by language, age and gender-based. The margin of error in Toronto is +/-2.52 19 times out of 20, it said.

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