Winnipeggers can now book a ride through at least six different ride-share apps, and they’re starting to make a dent in traditional taxi territory.
“They’re starting to carve out their part of the market,” said Grant Heather, the city’s Manager of Vehicles for Hire. “They’re starting to find their niche.”
The latest numbers show there were 15,000 rides in June reported by ride-sharing apps registered with the city — while traditional taxis reported 418,000, Heather said.
That adds up to 3.5 per cent of all rides, but those numbers are likely to go higher in the upcoming cooler months, he added.
“Weather and time of year changes things drastically … people aren’t riding their bikes or walking in the middle of winter.”
So far, 17 companies have registered as Personal Transportation Providers (PTP) with the City of Winnipeg. While many of those are specialty groups using websites or phone numbers to offer rides to people with disabilities, six of them currently have a more traditional Uber-like ride-sharing app, while a seventh appears poised to launch one.
The companies that are up and running include Cowboy Taxi, Hire PTP, InstaRyde, MY CAB app, ReRyde and TappCar.
“Three or four of them are actually Winnipeg companies, local, that have cropped up, which is great,” Heather said.
“This has given Winnipeggers an opportunity to get into the game.”
The city took over ride-hailing services on March 1 after the province dissolved the taxicab board. Heather said they are still learning, but so far, things have gone fairly smoothly.
“We certainly get complaints … anywhere from ‘My cab was late’ to more serious things,” said Heather. “We track them and we can follow up with the dispatcher depending on who they are.
While unlicensed “safe ride” services have popped up on Facebook, which skirt the ride-sharing bylaws due to the fact rides are done by donation rather than specific payment, Heather said people are taking a chance when using those services.
“We don’t know what type of background checking they’re doing on the drivers, we don’t know anything,” Heather said.
“Anyone who is licensed here has to comply with the bylaw, which means … our office can ask them at any time for documentation showing that the drivers have clean criminal records, that they aren’t listed on the Child Abuse Registry.”
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