Ride-sharing Services are Now Operational in Winnipeg

(CHVN) Edmonton-based TappCar, Calgary’s Cowboy Taxi, officially hit the streets today and Toronto’s InstaRyde is registered, approximately five months after both the city and province passed legislation to allow those services to enter the market and compete with existing cab companies.

Winnipeg-based U2GO is still in the process of registering.

TappCar, which has approximately a dozen drivers on the roads today, held a ceremonial first ride with Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface), who was a big proponent of ride-sharing services coming to Winnipeg.

“It’s a great day,” Allard said Friday morning. “We had a hotly-contested ride-sharing bylaw and I think the fact we have the first ride sharing companies up and running shows we did good work and created a bylaw that allows these companies to operate here.”

“I think we also created a bylaw that is fair to the existing cab industry.”

TappCar spokesperson John Morris expects they will have around 150 drivers on the road as of next Friday, March 9, 2018.

“We’re in a position of ramping up operations,” Morris said. “We tested the application yesterday and we’re live today and going forward we’re going to be improving as we hear back from customers about their first experiences.”

Morris acknowledged there have been a few hiccups with the app, but for the most part, it’s been a smooth entrance into the city.

“We’ve had a number of people respond positively to their experience,” Morris said. “It’s an exciting day for Winnipeg and TappCar looks forward to providing true ride-share that’s going to be reliable, legal and a good alternative to the taxi situation in town.”

The two largest players in the ride-sharing game, Uber and Lyft, have yet to arrive in Winnipeg as they are in the midst of a battle with Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI). Both companies say they are willing to pay to insure their drivers, but want MPI to scrap a requirement that forces drivers to indicate when they are going to be out on the roads in advance.

MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley said in a release they have spoken to both Uber and Lyft about the province’s public auto insurance model. The crown corporation has encouraged both companies to apply for time bands that form part of the insurance framework for vehicles for hire.

Winnipeg has four time bands, and Smiley says if either company wants their drivers to be on the road at any time, they can insure their drivers for all four time bands and pay 20 per cent more than the basic all-purpose insurance rate for each driver.

Both companies expect to meet with MPI in the coming months and are hopeful they can come to an agreement.

The current vehicle for hire platform has been reviewed and approved by Public Utilities Board and Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen says no changes will be taking place. (Source: CHVN 95.1 FM)