Uber has long been predicted to enter Winnipeg as the U.S. company’s expansion in Canada continues, but now it seems as though the service that connects passengers with freelance drivers is on hold in the city.
A recently started account on Instagram pointed to a May debut for the UberX service in Winnipeg, but the company says that it is not a real account and said there are no specific plans to expand in Winnipeg. The ride-sharing firm has already landed in many Canadian cities, controversially so as it is unregulated and its drivers operate without sufficient auto insurance.
“We don’t have specific launch plans for Winnipeg at the moment,” said Uber spokesperson Susie Heath in a statement sent to CTV.
“I can tell you that Uber aims to expand to communities across Canada and we’re always looking at what’s next. We will continue to work collaboratively with officials at all levels of government as part of our ongoing process to continue to explore expansion in a number of cities across Canada.”
Like other cities in the country, any potential arrival of Uber in Winnipeg would bring numerous problems to the city, including the fact the company would not be legally permitted to operate in the city. That has never stopped Uber before, so unless Winnipeg can prepare itself with working regulations, it faces familiar problems should UberX enter the market.
Edmonton is the only Canadian city to legalize Uber so far, although the company needs to make several compromises before March 1 if that legalization is to come into effect. Aviva Canada has recently announced a ride-sharing specific auto insurance policy that has been approved by the FSCO in Ontario and covers Uber drivers.
While the policy is exclusive to Ontario at the moment, Aviva says it is working with regulatory bodies in other provinces to expand the solution nationwide. If Winnipeg was to adopt Aviva Canada’s policy before the arrival of Uber, it could smooth the transition of the company in the city.
However, taxi drivers still remain the fiercest opponents of UberX and the introduction of ride-sharing in Winnipeg would have an adverse effect on the local taxi industry.