Ride sharing service pilot project begins at Pearson

Passengers landing at Toronto's Pearson airport are now able to arrange to be picked up using their Uber and Lyft ride-hailing apps.

The Greater Toronto Airports Authority says Uber and Lyft customers can request rides at Canada's largest airport under a pilot program that started Tuesday.

The service will give another option for 47 million annual airport passengers and 49,000 airport workers.

Interest from other ride-hailing companies to operate from Pearson would be considered on a case by case basis, airport spokeswoman Maria Ganogiannis said.

Until now, ride-hailing services could drop off passengers at the airport, but only authorized premium services such as Uber Black, Select and Lyft Premium could pick up from the airport.

More than 200 North American airports, including Ottawa, Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary offer full ride-hailing services.

The Toronto airport authority says it studied similar operations at other airports and consulted locally to understand benefits and impacts to operators.

As part of the pilot project, it will continue to monitor the impacts of this service on existing transportation providers and review their feedback.

Uber issued the following statement:

“Every day, Uber brings millions of people together across 600 cities throughout the world. Visitors from over 80 countries used the Uber app in Toronto in the past three months, and travellers everywhere have come to expect the reliability and convenience that more transportation options provide. We are thrilled to partner with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority for this pilot and we are committed to invest and help build a world-class mobility experience with Toronto Pearson.”

Lyft also released the following:

"We're thrilled to be operating at Toronto Pearson International Airport. With the addition of this pilot program for rideshare vehicles, passengers travelling in and out of YYZ can count on a convenient and affordable Lyft ride to and from the airport. We're thankful to the GTAA team for their collaboration and we look forward to providing a great rider and driver experience at Toronto Pearson."

There is one group who is not-so thrilled, and that is the Toronto Taxi industry.

"I think the GTAA is relying a little too heavily on the idea that the City of Toronto has rubberstamped some sort of regulation. But the reality is that they've lost control, there's been little to no enforcement." says Kristine Hubbard from Beck Taxi.

She says she would have rather seen them wait for a city report, which she says is ovedue, before moving forward with any new initiatives.

(With files from Canadian Press)