Uber safety a source of concern, Toronto-area survey says
An Environics Research survey found the public was most interested in the city regulating safety into Uber ride-sharing.
March 16, 2016
When it comes to Uber, Toronto-area residents are less concerned with what the ride-sharing company is doing to the taxi industry than they are with their personal safety in the absence of municipal regulations.
An independent Environics Research Group survey found 56 per cent of residents support Uber with the support being stronger among those who use the service. Only 49 per cent of non-users support it.
But 60 per cent of respondents overall were concerned about the lack of municipal licensing and the implications for their safety with unlicensed Uber drivers.
The results were released Wednesday in conjunction with an online discussion platform designed to gather residents’ thoughts on regulating the app-based service.
“We know how the taxis feel, we know that the city is spending a lot of time right now researching and developing policy, we know how Uber feels and what they are experiencing. The voice we felt we weren’t hearing was that of residents and users and people living in the municipalities where the service is either being accessed or being considered within the larger transportation system,” said Environics vice-president Jodi Shanoff.
It’s a chance for people to say how they would expect the city to regulate a service like Uber, she said.
The Environics survey showed that most people don’t believe Uber drivers are safer than cabs. Only 15 per cent of Uber clients strongly agreed Uber cars are safer and only 4 per cent of non-users strongly agreed.
Although people will rely on Uber itself to provide some safety assurances, Shanoff said, “Ultimately people are going to rely on the city to establish the regulatory framework that’s going to give the sense of security that there’s accountability and recourse in the event that there are safety issues with the service.”
Concern about Uber infringing on the taxi industry was minor among survey respondents, she said.
“People are looking to find efficient service at cost savings so if there is a safe alternative that provides it, it doesn’t appear to be a big concern that the taxi industry may be losing money at the hands of that,” said Shanoff.
Eighty-four per cent of Uber users like the idea that there’s competition to the taxi industry and 73 per cent of people overall agree.
Uber usage increases significantly with income level and drops with age. Only 13 per cent of users were in the $40,000-income category versus 22 per cent of those earning $100,000 annually or more, although use drops off at the $150,000 mark.
Not surprisingly, Uber use also drops according to age with 39 per cent of users between 18 and 29, and only 4 per cent over age 55, said Shanoff.
The online Environics survey of 1,005 Toronto-area residents was conducted between Nov. 12 and Nov. 26. The findings are considered accurate within 3.1 per cent 19 times out of 20.
The promiscuous transit user
They’re called “supersharers” and they use a combination of transit, bike- and car-sharing, and app-based services that make them half as likely to own a car as more typical public transit riders.
According to a survey released Tuesday by the American Public Transit Association, supersharers were those who used a combination of three non-public transit modes to take three types of trips — commuting, running errands and recreation — within the previous three months.
Fifty-seven per cent of supersharers used the bus or train most often. But their next most used mode was bike-sharing (20 per cent).
Researcher Darnell Grisby said bike- and ride-sharing programs, as well as apps such as Uber, have the potential to enhance the public transit experience.
“There are some issues to be worked out but we’ve generally found (ride sharing) is complementary, not competitive. We view it as a value-add and generally see it as the wave of the future,” he said.
The report called was conducted by the Shared-Use Mobility Centre and funded by the U.S. government.