BUSINESS

#TO4Uber: Ride-Sharing Company Spared Toronto Shutdown .. For Now

06/02/2015 03:14 EDT | Updated 06/03/2015 11:59 EDT

UPDATE 2015-06-03: Uber told its users Tuesday night it would continue to operate as normal in Toronto as it awaits a court decision on whether the city can shut the service down.

“As you know, Uber was in court this week in Toronto, defending your right to continue to access safe, affordable, and reliable rides through our platform,” the company said in a mass email to Toronto Uber users, noting that the court hearing had ended earlier that day.

Uber said the judge would take some time to make his ruling. The email linked to a Toronto Star story that said Judge Sean Dunphy, who presides over the case, expects his decision to be appealed. He also said he would issue a stay against the injunction so Uber wouldn’t immediately have to close its doors to customers.

The company said it does not know whether it will appeal if it loses.

Original story follows below

Uber is urging its Toronto users to show their support for the embattled car-sharing service, suggesting in an email that it could be shut down by City Hall as early as this week.

The City of Toronto is asking for a permanent injunction to close down Uber, arguing in court this week that Uber — which matches customers looking for a ride with available drivers through its smartphone app — is operating an illegal and unlicensed taxi business.

Uber sent an email Monday as the trial kicked off asking users to show their support for the service using the hashtag #TO4Uber on Twitter.

“This week — or in the coming weeks — the City may force Uber to shut down, leaving you without a ride and thousands of driver partners without income,” it said.

“We will be fighting hard for your right to continue to access affordable, safe, and reliable rides through the Uber platform.”

Uber maintains that it is not operating an unauthorized taxi service, but rather is a passive player offering a platform for riders and drivers to connect. It also argues that regulations are not keeping pace with technology that benefits customers. Uber makes traditional taxis as well as UberX drivers, who do not have taxi permits, available through its app.

In recent weeks Uber has launched other services in Toronto including meal delivery, puppy play date arrangements and free rides to drop off old clothing to charities.

Meanwhile, cab drivers have held protests against Uber outside City Hall.

Uber also has a presence in Edmonton, Halifax, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, but has been shut out of operating in Vancouver and Calgary.

uber letter

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