Toronto caught me by surprise. It has only been a momentary fling, but I am smitten with this sophisticated, unassuming, warm city. As I am sure is the case with most visitors, the first thing that caught my eye was Toronto’s monolithic CN Tower. As I spent time getting acquainted with the city, the Tower followed my every move, always there, constantly looking back at me. Stoic, bold, and yet still unassuming like its residents. Erected by the dominant railroad company in the 1960’s, it is the legacy of a blossoming city that was on its way to becoming one of the world’s greats. 50 years later, the city has fulfilled the dreams of its residents, but somehow its transportation alternatives haven’t kept up.By the numbers
At Uber we get intimate with the transportation situation in all the major cities of the world. Toronto is definitely unique in its limited transportation alternatives. I figured I’d do a quick comparison with Paris (our only other city outside of the U.S.) to show these differences.Subways:
Paris – 384 subway stations for 2.2 million city residentsToronto – 64 subway stations for 2.6 million city residentsTaxis:
Paris – 15,500 taxis – 7.0 taxis per 1000 peopleToronto – 5,000 taxis – 1.9 taxis per 1000 peopleThe conclusions are clear and obvious to any Torontonian – one must drive to effectively get around the city. Of course, this has resulted in too many cars on limited highways – I saw one estimate of the average work commute being over 1 hour.
I’ve heard that evening rush hour on Don Valley Parkway starts at 3pm these days. Parking suffers as well with new luxury condos selling out parking at $60-100k per spot! Did I mention how much I love Toronto’s genius-only parking signs?The Uber Alternative
The Uber alternative brings a lot to the table. Push a button and get whisked away by your own private driver in just minutes! It’s really that easy, but there’s a lot of math and logistics under the hood that makes it possible.
Uber matches supply with demand, providing a data driven solution to the transportation ails of Toronto. Uber’s on-demand ride provides a new transportation alternative in a city where alternatives are few and far between.
Scenario 1: Dinner at Ossington & Dundas
The pizza was amazing. The $65 parking ticket…not so much.
Scenario 2: Leaving the Air Canada Centre
Maple Leaf win. Epic. Subway cars packed. Taxis full. The walk to King Station so you can get home…buzz kill.A relationship of convenience
In the last few days, I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with so many native Torontonians. At some point in the conversation every one of them looks at this guy from stateside and with an endearing skepticism, and they inevitably ask “So why Toronto?” I beam a warm smile and say, “because there is no better time than now to roll out a new transportation alternative for this city.” Uber is not the end-all solution to Toronto transportation, but part of the fabric of transportation options that will make getting around Toronto as great as the city itself.