Could Uber rides soon be available in Winnipeg?
An MNP review of Winnipeg taxi services released Wednesday concluded that ride-sharing companies should be allowed here.
The call for that addition appears largely based on demand. The report found there’s one taxicab for every 1,252 people in the busy Winnipeg winter season, while other cities average about one for every 860 people. It also noted a survey of about 10,000 Manitobans found “allowing Uber” was riders’ top priority.
The survey found 64% of respondents support bringing Uber to Winnipeg, 24% opposed, and the rest weren’t sure.
A taxi industry spokesman said the added competition is welcome but also stressed any new company must follow the same safety standards as current taxis.
“As long as the same rules are held, as in standards are applied to all competitors within this space, we’re quite pleased to compete with anyone and everyone,” said Michael Diamond, a spokesman for the Winnipeg Taxi Alliance, which speaks for both Duffy’s and Unicity taxi on industry issues.
Diamond believes that includes extending driver shields, in-car cameras and other safety equipment mandated for metred cabs to ride-share drivers.
“Driving a taxi in Winnipeg has traditionally been a fairly dangerous occupation and these protections need to work for both consumers and vehicle drivers,” he said.
The report doesn’t specify the exact safety equipment ride-share vehicles would need, or if those required for cabs could be relaxed.
Ride-sharing companies that connect passengers with drivers using their personal vehicles already operate in several Canadian cities, including Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton.
Uber, the largest and most well-known ride-sharing venture, welcomed the report.
“The report confirms that the vast majority of Manitobans want ride-sharing and we look forward to bringing Uber to the province soon so that Manitobans can benefit from another safe, reliable way to get around their communities and (a) flexible, income-earning opportunity,” wrote Uber Canada spokeswoman Susie Heath in an email.
The report also calls to allow taxis in diamond lanes, add more taxicab stands downtown, review the provincial regulation of the industry and increase fines for operating vehicles illegally.
The provincial Taxicab Board, which oversees Winnipeg’s taxi industry, said it’s now reviewing the recommendations.
“The taxicab industry provides important services to the public and has a key role in areas, such as tourism. Our decisions must be well informed, based on facts and consider the views of the industry, the public and other interested parties,” wrote Shelly Ferens, the board’s director and secretary.
The report also notes calls for more co-ordination with Winnipeg police on passenger safety, noting recent allegations from multiple indigenous women of harassment by taxi drivers.
- 62% of Winnipeggers use a taxi at least once per year.
- 15% use taxis on a monthly basis or more.
- 45% of trips are for travel to or from the airport.
- 38% of trips are to get home from a night out.
- Central Winnipeg uses taxis the most — 77% use a taxi at least every few months
- Almost two-thirds of men have used a limo in the past five years, compared to 38% of women.
Cabs per 10,000 population:
- Toronto 18
- Edmonton 15.6
- Ottawa 13.2
- Calgary 12.9
- Montreal 12
- Vancouver 9.8
- Regina 8.8
- Mississauga 7.2
Source: Winnipeg Taxicab Services Review
Source : http://winnipegsun.com/2016/12/21/report-says-uber-should-be-allowed-in-winnipeg/wcm/957ee5fa-6d55-4570-960e-97be7a8fbde9619