According to a new report from CBC News, Uber is looking to launch their ride-sharing service in Winnipeg. An official with the ride sharing company is in Winnipeg promoting the company and the service it offers.
Uber’s public policy manager Chris Schafer says that Uber is a faster, cheaper way for people to get a ride. He also claims that having Uber in Winnipeg will increase the business for traditional taxi cabs.
“When you give people another choice to make in the marketplace for transportation, that’s safe and principally more reliable and more affordable, what happens to the ground transportation industry? That pie grows.
We don’t look at taxi as a competitor. Frankly it’s a complementary service, but more principally we’ve got our eyes focused on a bigger competitor and that’s the personal automobile, and through new choices that are safe, affordable and reliable, giving people an opportunity to live car-free or car-lite lifestyles.”
Schafer also says that the experience is safer for both the rider and driver since all transactions are done using their app. He also says that he expects opposition from the taxi companies to decrease over time:
“We’re in a period of change. Technology is changing the way we work, play and get around our cities. There’s often a lag in legislators catching up with technology. That will catch up and over time the established industry will adjust and remain competitive and we’ll continue to do our job and keep our customers and driver partners happy.”
Uber has been eyeing many Canadian markets and Schafer confirms that Winnipeg is definitely one of them. The report also confirms that Uber is in talks with provincial officials to get licensed for the province of Manitoba.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman confirmed on Wednesday that he has already met with Uber officials and suggests he is open to the ride-sharing service. However, Bowman still showed some hesitation towards change:
“Look, I have long been a champion for increased innovation, new technologies and crowd sourcing. Let’s also be clear the Taxicab Board is responsible for regulating the taxi industry. My focus is really on the priorities of Winnipeggers and that’s quite frankly, to fix the roads so that when and if Uber is here in Winnipeg they have better roads to drive on.”
A coalition formed in Winnipeg to oppose Uber’s entrance into their city. Coalition spokesperson Luc Lewandoski said:
“We aren’t hostile to competition, but the members of the Winnipeg Taxi Alliance are concerned with the manner Uber has conducted itself in other cities and countries.”
What do you think about Uber’s interest in entering the market in Winnipeg? Let us know in the comments below.