A group representing Unicity and Duffy cab companies and drivers is urging Manitoba Public Insurance not to back down in the face of Uber's threat not to bring ridesharing services here unless it changes its insurance proposal.
Scott McFadyen, spokesman for the Winnipeg Community Taxi Coalition, said based on the actions of Uber around the world, he's not surprised by the company's submission earlier this week to the Public Utilities Board.
"We found the statement arrogant, but quite predictable," McFadyen said during a news conference on Thursday, going on to accuse Uber of operating in other cities without adequate insurance and not reporting collisions or incidents.
"We follow all the rules. We're here to stay to provide 24-hour service even when it is colder than Mars."
MPI has asked the PUB for permission to charge individual part-time Uber drivers different rates of extra insurance depending on when they want to drive for Uber. Drivers in Manitoba are responsible for their insurance, MPI said.
Uber disagrees with the proposed insurance charges and said unless MPI allows the company to instead buy blanket commercial insurance to cover its drivers it won't come here.
McFadyen said he was disappointed to hear that Mayor Brian Bowman is urging MPI to be more open to changing its insurance policies for Uber.
"We respect the process," he said.
"MPI put this insurance proposal before the PUB... if the mayor is asking for lesser safety we are disappointed."
McFadyen said taxi companies have been listening to the concerns of Winnipeggers and cab users can look forward to seeing new innovations on March 1.
Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.