11/26/2015 11:01 EST | Updated 11/26/2016 05:12 EST

Competition Bureau: Loosen Taxi Rules So They Can Compete With Uber

TORONTO — The Competition Bureau says local regulations on the taxi industry need to be overhauled to deal with new competition from alternatives like the ride-hailing service Uber.

New competitors have gained market share by undercutting the fixed prices of existing cabs and skirting regulations for the industry.

The bureau says that has created an uneven playing field, and that cities and provinces should balance the scales by easing rules on taxis rather than looking to increase the regulations on the new entrants.

How much Uber will save you, by city


Canadians spent almost $1.2 billion on taxis in 2014. A report prepared by Ottawa's local authorities in October found Uber prices average around 36 per cent less than a comparable cab fare.

Cities control taxi licensing and the number of taxi permits, and in some areas the value of a so-called taxi plate has reached six digits. The Ottawa report found the cost of a single taxi plate in Toronto in 2012 was as high as $360,000.

Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto cracked down on Uber drivers, and the company has suspended its service in Calgary after a judge approved a temporary injunction against it last week.