Background and Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
The Town of Innisfil has partnered with Uber (for general rides) and Barrie-Innisfil Taxi (for accessible rides) to bring a reliable, affordableon-demand transit service to serve all residents of Innisfil. You can read the staff report (approved by Council on March 15, 2017) and check out the presentation by Town Staff and Uber.
Why did we decide to go this route?
Creating Transportation Options is one of the key priorities of the Innisfil Community Strategic Plan. The Town carried out a Transit Feasibility Study that was completed in September of 2015. After examining this study, Council considered the options for fixed-route bus service during the 2016 Budget deliberations ($270,000 annually for one bus and $610,000 for two buses), but it was determined that they would be too costly for the limited level of service that they would provide.
In June of 2016, Town Staff presented a new report to Council that suggested looking into an on-demand transit option. Soon after, a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) was made. From this process, Uber emerged as the only company with an app-based platform (i.e. UberPool) that would facilitate ridesharing and the matching of 2 or more passengers on trips across the entire Town.
We also had a committee of residents that clearly told us they wanted a service that was able to meet their needs. They expressed that they wanted this to be on-demand, and that the service should be able to transport passengers between Innisfil’s great distances. They wanted to make sure the service could meet the needs of youth, seniors, commuters and new residents. And they wanted this to be affordable.
How do I use the service? How much does it cost?
Using the free Uber app, Innisfil residents and visitors can book a trip to wherever they need to go, 24/7. There are essentially three different types of trips.
1) Key Destination Request: When booking a trip to one of the following destinations, you will pay $4 to $6:
o $4 for any trip to/from Innisfil Recreational Complex/Town Hall area
o $5 for any trip to/from closest GO bus stop along Yonge St (see FAQ below on how to book a trip to the GO bus stops)
o $6 for any trip to/from Barrie South GO train station
o $6 for any trip to/from Innisfil Heights Employment Area and Highway 400 carpool lot
2) Custom Destination Request: you can book Uber to travel wherever you wish within Innisfil’s boundaries and enjoy saving $4 off the fare. The Uber fare estimator on the Uber website will help you determine how much a trip might cost.
3) Accessible Vehicle Request: residents who are required to remain seated in a mobility aid during a trip because of a disability, can contact Barrie-Innisfil taxi (705-721-7777) to request a trip. The price of this trip will have the same structure as for the general Uber trips.
As an incentive, Uber will provide a credit of $20 (towards their first trip) to each resident that signs up to use the service and enters the promo code – “innisfiltransit”.
How do I apply to the fair transit program?
To apply for the Fair Transit program, fill out this application.
To find out if you are eligible to apply, ensure your household income (after tax) falls under the amount specified on the application form.
How do I book a trip to the GO bus stops?
The easiest way to do this is to enter in the GO bus stop name exactly as they are called within Google Maps as follows:
- “Yonge St. @ Shore Acres Dr.” (Fennells Corner)
- “4th Line & Yonge St” (Churchill)
- “Yonge St. @ Meadowland St. (Churchill)
- “Yonge St. @ Innisfil Beach Rd.” (Barclay – Town Hall/IRC)
- “Yonge St. @ Victoria St.” (Stroud)
- “Yonge St. @ Glenn Ave.” (Stroud)
- “Yonge St. @ Lynn St.” (Stroud)
How do I create an Uber account?
You can create an Uber account either by downloading the Uber app on your smartphone or online through get.uber.com . Creating an Uber account requires a valid email address and phone number. Additional information is available on the Uber website.
What if I don’t have a smart phone?
The Uber app is optimized for use on a smartphone. However, if you have a mobile phone capable of receiving text messages, you may create an account and request rides using a computer. You can go to get.uber.com to create your account. Once your account is created, you can request trips through https://m.uber.com. Residents needing assistance in creating accounts and requesting trips are welcome to access computers at the Town Hall or at any of the Town’s Library locations.
What if I don’t have a credit card?
Can teens use the service?
Yes, with permission from their parents, teens can request trips. To use this feature, there is a consent form to fill out on the Uber-Innisfil website as well as additional FAQs about the Family Profile feature.
Is the service fully accessible?
Yes, since not all Uber vehicles are fully equipped to pick up passengers with special requirements, we are partnering with Barrie-Innisfil Taxi to provide fully accessible transportation. Residents who are required to remain seated in a mobility aid during a trip, can contact Barrie-Innisfil taxi (by phone: 705-721-7777) to request a trip. Please note that this service may require at least 1 day advance notice of your trip. The fare structure for the accessible trips will be the same as for the general Uber trips.
How much is this costing/saving the Town?
Council had initially approved about $100,000 to implement Stage 1 of the Innisfil Transit program, while $125,000 was initially allocated for Stage 2. However, due to the success and popularity of the program, Council approved an additional $350,000 for Innisfil Transit in March 2018. Keep in mind, through a demand-based ridesharing service, we are able to provide door-to-door service throughout the community, and the Town has not needed to pay the significant upfront capital costs for items such as buses and bus shelters, in addition to their ongoing operational and maintenance costs. Rather, the Town is simply providing funding to subsidize fares. Since the Town has estimated it would cost several millions of dollars to provide a comparable level of coverage using buses throughout Innisfil, we are saving millions of dollars each year by choosing to use a demand-based ridesharing service.
What if I’m travelling with a friend?
When travelling with a friend you can request a seat for one additional passenger for $3. Only one additional seat can be booked at this time.
How will drivers be recruited? Are they screened? Who will be the drivers?
All Uber drivers must go through a pre-screening process, including a criminal history and motor vehicle record check. Uber drivers typically use their own vehicles, which range from 4-door sedans to 6-person mini vans. Vehicles cannot be more than 10-years old and must show proof of a motor vehicle safety inspection. Each vehicle and driver must hold 2 million dollars in liability insurance. To ensure there are sufficient drivers in Innisfil, Uber will offer a $100 bonus for any Innisfil resident who registers to drive and completes 10 trips in the Town.
How do I sign up to become an Uber driver?
Please visit the Uber website for information.
What happens if my Uber App isn’t working?
The Uber app can have issues much like every other app. If your app is not letting you order a ride or there was a problem with your ride, you must contact Uber through their support section. This can be found in the upper left hand corner of the app, which then opens a ‘Help’ section. Uber’s privacy policies do not allow the Town to reach out on behalf of residents,although we would like to do as much as we can to help. If the issue is not being resolved by Uber, you can send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can document it and assist where we can.
Uber charged me the wrong fare, who do I call?
Uber does not use a phone number to help with fare discrepancies because all of their information is online. The best way to deal with fare and payment issues is through the ‘help’ section of the app. This makes it easier for Uber to see exactly the trip that was taken and where the fare was incorrect. Uber is then able to make any reimbursements to your account as necessary. The Town is unable to reimburse residents for any incorrect fares.
What happens if I see “No Drivers Available”?
At certain times, there may be not be as many drivers available. If this occurs, the best thing to do is to request a trip again every few minutes. A driver may be finishing up a trip nearby or just starting their day as a driver. Eventually a driver is likely to come available and accept your trip request. It is advisable to leave and request your trip early if you are on a tight timeline (e.g. when getting to an appointment or a scheduled train). The Town has been working with Uber to address this issue.
What if I am unable to access internet?
Residents that are unable to use the Uber app may come to Town Hall to register as a resident to use the service. Customer Service will book the ride between regular business hours.
Booking in advance is not permitted. Residents will be sent an invoice for payment.
- Customer Service will book a ride to bring the resident to Town hall where they must show proof that they are a resident.
- Customer Service will log the resident’s information and give them their own, unique billing code which will help us keep track of your rides.
In the news:
- TedX: Innovation in Local Government
- TVO: Transition to Transit
- CBC: Metro Morning
- Financial Post
- TVO: Taking the Uber Bus
- Innisfil Journal: Innisfil, Uber public transit partnership Canadian first
- Innisfil Journal: Uber offers $100 to registered Innisfil drivers
- Toronto Star: How a small town is using Uber to fill its public transit void
- CTV Toronto
- Global News
- CITYNews Toronto