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Four ride-hailing firms could roll into town

Canadian-based companies in talks with MPI; Uber, Lyft remain holdouts

Major ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft have rebuffed MPI’s insurance plan for ride-hailing services, saying it makes operating in the province economically infeasible. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)</p>

Major ride-hailing firms Uber and Lyft have rebuffed MPI’s insurance plan for ride-hailing services, saying it makes operating in the province economically infeasible. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/2/2018 (286 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Four ride-hailing companies are currently in discussion with MPI to bring their services to Manitoba, with one set to roll out its Winnipeg operation Friday.

But when the province’s vehicles-for-hire act goes into effect Thursday — meaning ride-hailing can officially begin — two notable players will be on the outside looking in: Uber and Lyft.

The two industry giants have rebuffed Manitoba Public Insurance’s plan for ride-hailing service drivers, saying it makes operating in the province economically unfeasible.

The stance has left a market vacuum lesser-known ride-hailing outfits hope to fill.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/2/2018 (286 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Four ride-hailing companies are currently in discussion with MPI to bring their services to Manitoba, with one set to roll out its Winnipeg operation Friday.

But when the province’s vehicles-for-hire act goes into effect Thursday — meaning ride-hailing can officially begin — two notable players will be on the outside looking in: Uber and Lyft.

Edmonton-based TappCar announced it will be the first ride-hailing service operating in the city, with their drivers ready to start collecting fares Friday. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

Edmonton-based TappCar announced it will be the first ride-hailing service operating in the city, with their drivers ready to start collecting fares Friday. (Boris Minkevich / Winnipeg Free Press files)

The two industry giants have rebuffed Manitoba Public Insurance’s plan for ride-hailing service drivers, saying it makes operating in the province economically unfeasible.

'The framework is in place, the door is open and we look forward to ride-hailing coming to Manitoba in the next few days'— Minister of Crown Services Cliff Cullen

The stance has left a market vacuum lesser-known ride-hailing outfits hope to fill.

"We made a commitment as a government to provide Manitobans with options, as far as ride-hailing, and we’ve delivered on that commitment," Minister of Crown Services Cliff Cullen said Tuesday. "The framework is in place, the door is open and we look forward to ride-hailing coming to Manitoba in the next few days."

Edmonton-based TappCar announced it will be the first ride-hailing service operating in the city, with its drivers ready to start collecting fares Friday. More than 300 people have applied to join the company, although it remains unclear how many drivers it will have trained by Friday.

In addition, Cullen said InstaRyde, Cowboy Taxi and U2GO are all working with MPI to get vehicles insured and under their banners.

A spokesman for MPI said the Crown corporation had no intention of changing the coverage offer on the table for companies such as Uber and Lyft — a sentiment echoed by Cullen.

When asked if the message to Uber and Lyft — the No. 1 and 2 companies in terms of U.S. market share, respectively — was take it or leave it, Cullen responded: "Their competition is here and they’re going to be doing business. It’s up to Uber and Lyft to make that decision.

"We’ve got what we think is fairly balanced and comprehensive coverage in place — fairly affordable coverage, as well. Clearly, four other companies agree with what we’ve got on the table," he said.

Legislative changes approved by the province pave the way for municipalities to customize their own bylaw requirements for ride-hailing services.

In other jurisdictions, ride-hailing services can buy blanket coverage from independent companies. Manitoba’s public model is based on individual driver ratings.

The province will offer four coverage "time bands" drivers will be able to select from. This will allow drivers to tailor their insurance coverage to the time periods they want to work — or if they want to make it a full-time job, they’ll be able to select all four time bands, according to MPI.

"I think it’s very reasonable because the maximum it can cost the driver, if they want to go 24-7, is affordable," said George Demarchi, chief executive officer of U2GO Enterprises Inc. "U2GO is not being prescriptive; some people will make it a full-time job, some people use it to supplement their income. It’s for the driver to buy those time bands."

While TappCar said it will pick up Winnipeg customers starting Friday, it remains unclear when the three other ride-hailing services will be approved to begin operations.

ryan.thorpe@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @rk_thorpe

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 11:43 PM CST: FInal version

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