Uber gears up to hit the streets of Winnipeg this spring, no exact date confirmed

The rubber will meet the road for Uber in Winnipeg sometime before the end of spring.

“We don’t have a date set quite yet,” says the head of Western Canada for Uber, Michael van Hemmen.

“That would largely be dependent upon how many drivers and how quickly drivers sign up and go through the process.”

Van Hemmen says they haven’t figured out exactly how many drivers they’ll need to launch, only that it would be a lot, owing to the flexible nature of the job.

“If you want to drop your kid off at soccer and drive while they’re at soccer practice, you can do that,” van Hemmen says.

“If you want to only drive during the day, that’s OK; if you only want to drive during peak times when bars are closing at night, you can choose to do that as well.”

However, van Hemmen doesn’t expect lack of interest to be a factor, saying the app has been opened tens of thousands of times in Winnipeg, and people have already made accounts using local area codes, despite there being no service yet.

The company had previously avoided joining the Winnipeg market due to MPI’s vehicle for hire coverage, which requires a person to choose from four time slots as opposed to one blanket-type insurance found in other areas.

“So we’ve found a workable solution with MPI where drivers will have to get the existing MPI product, but Uber will be able to purchase private additional insurance to ensure that the entire trip is covered and everything is all good.” van Hemmen says.

Drivers in Winnipeg will still need to choose from the four time slots — weekdays, rush hour, overnight and weekends — each of which adds 5 per cent onto their basic premium.

Choosing all four would add anywhere between $200 to $400 to a person’s yearly insurance, depending on a number of factors.

The full details can be found on MPI’s website.

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