By: Luke Jones, Published on February 28, 2018 05:14 PM, Last Update on February 28, 2018 02:16 PM
Manitoba has opened its doors to ride-sharing through a unique approach to auto insurance. While that model has scared away industry giants like Uber and Lyft, their absence is a green light for smaller companies to take advantage and enter the Winnipeg market.
The provincial government has already said its so-called top up model for ride-sharing auto insurance has attracted interest from providers. However, Uber was quick to confirm the regulations would mean it would not enter Manitoba. Authorities led by the mayor of Winnipeg have urged the provincial government to amend the regulations.
Despite this, the government is standing firm and is slowing getting interest from smaller ride-sharing companies. Perhaps Manitoba will not need Uber. Crown Services Minister Cliff Cullen said four companies are working with the Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) to start operating from March 1.
Even though the auto insurance plan is controversial, Cullen says even more companies are lined up to embrace it. Uber’s absence has resulted in a genuine chance for deep ride-sharing competition in Manitoba. Edmonton-based TappCar, Cowboy Taxi from Calgary, U2GO from Winnipeg, and InstaRyde from Toronto are the companies currently working with MPI.
The companies will have to adhere to new regulations, including obtaining auto insurance from MPI and receiving a license as a dispatch company from Winnipeg Parking Authority. Entering the market could give the smaller companies time to gain a customer base ahead of any potential Uber or Lyft arrival.
Both ride-sharing giants say they won’t enter the market under current conditions, but Cullen confirmed MPI is in negotiations with Uber and Lyft. Under the new regulatory framework, drivers will need to top up insurance by a percentage dependent on how much they work for ride-sharing firms.
“Well, their competition is here and they’re going to be doing business. It’s up to Uber and Lyft to make that decision,” Cullen said.