December 7, 2017 4:58 pm

COMMENTARY: Ride sharing in Winnipeg? How do you use it?

While ride sharing legislation is still in the works in Winnipeg, the service is already available in several cities across the country.

AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File

With all the talk of Uber and possibly Lyft coming to Winnipeg next year I got to thinking, “How do I call an Uber anyhow?”

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I’ve been in an Uber vehicle only once before. It was in Toronto last year. A buddy of mine who lives there and I were downtown and he suggested going to some restaurant a good distance away to grab a bite. “Let’s go!!” I said. “Should we take the Subway?” (I love the subway, great means of public transportation). He said, “I’ll get an Uber.” Well that excited me just as much, never having been in one before but having heard great things.

RELATED: Ride sharing legislation passes in Winnipeg

As we were standing on that extremely busy street corner I remember thinking “How are we ever going to find this car anyhow?”

Next thing he’s saying “Come on man let’s go! There it was. A beautiful, gleaming, dark blue, immaculate Toyota Camry. I didn’t know it was our car but my buddy did. He didn’t just instinctively know either, the information was on his phone. All he had to do was look for the right car.

That my friend is how you call an Uber.

Just download the app, sign up (the usual drill, name, contact info, email etc.) and you’ve got yourself an account. There is also a payment method on your account which allows you to use debit or credit so no actual cash ever changes hands (this will be the case in Winnipeg; no cash allowed for ride sharing).

RELATED: Uber customers to be charged sales tax starting Canada Day

Now you’ve got the app on your phone, you’ve got the account set up… so it’s just a simple matter of tapping a button to call a car. You hit the “where to?” button and enter your destination. After that choose the type of vehicle you want and confirm the number of seats you need. Then make sure to check the pricing. Uber has something called “surge pricing” which can increase the price of your ride considerably. Usually on weekend party nights, long weekends and certainly around Christmas and New Years it could cost you way more.

After that just hit the “request Uber” button to order your ride, tell them where you want to go, your pick-up destination and POOF!! You’re done. You’ll see your driver’s picture, his or her name, the car make and model and the plate number PLUS you’ll be able to follow their arrival on the map.

When you’re done hit the payment button and rate your driver. That’s it!

Sure there’ll be a learning curve just like  figuring out where the check-out lines actually are at Costco, or trying to discern the difference between a customer service rep and a greeter at the Apple store (they all wear the same coloured shirts).

Once you figure it out you could actually become addicted like my Toronto buddy. He claims he hasn’t taken his car out to go anywhere in six months. Always Uber. He says it’s cheaper and not even close to the pain in the butt that looking for a parking spot can be.

RELATED: Cab drivers worried about Uber pack Winnipeg city hall

Think of this. You may never have to speak to another rude taxi dispatcher or wait on hold for 15 minutes just to have your call dropped ever again.

Uber says they’ll be ready to go in Winnipeg March 1st.

I can’t wait!

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