As Canada prepared for heavy voter turnout for Monday’s election, Uber announced it would offer new users free rides to and from polling stations in the Canadian cities where it operates. The limited-time offer will be available for first-time customers only, up to $15 each way, in Edmonton, Calgary, the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, London, Hamilton, the Waterloo Region, Quebec City and Montreal, the Canadian Press reported.
“Voting on election day is a big decision. We want you to think about what’s important to you -- not how you’re going to get to and from the polls,” Uber said in a statement Saturday. “That’s why we’re offering new Uber users rides to and from the polls for free up to $15 each way on Oct. 19 across the Canadian cities we operate in.”
The San Francisco company has not been without controversy since launching its ride-hailing service in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide. Taxi drivers in Ontario, Canada, filed a class-action lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc. in July, just as the company expanded its disputed UberX service, which allows ordinary drivers to use their personal vehicles to transport passengers. The suit claims Uber and its drivers knowingly violated parts of the Highway Traffic Act, causing the plaintiff and others in the Ontario’s taxi industry to suffer damages. The plaintiff alleged there is "a conspiracy to create a market for illegal transportation,” the Financial Post reported.
While taxi drivers around the world say Uber is an unfair competitor, some Uber drivers say working for the company isn’t easy. Uber drivers across America protested in a nationwide strike during the weekend, in which the employees were encouraged to turn off their Uber app. They are asking the company to add a tipping option to the mobile app and increase the minimum fare and cancellation fees to benefit drivers. The three-day strike began Friday and was slated to last until Sunday night, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Uber has been treating their drivers worse and worse as time goes by," a co-worker petition reads. "Enough is enough. Just because they label drivers as independent contractors, doesn't mean they can take advantage of them and completely ignore labor laws."