Ubering the City: Understanding the Changes to Transportation in Winnipeg

This timely roundtable discussion is part of a SSHRC-funded project and will take place on
Thursday, December 14th at 2:00 pm in 409 Tier Building.

The following questions serve to orient participants. While nothing formal is required, please
do prepare some short (2-3 minutes at most per question) initial responses to three questions
of your choice ahead of time and let me know what questions you would like to discuss. The
roundtable discussion will be facilitated so that each person is given the opportunity to speak
and the conversation remains on track. The conversation will be audio-recorded and a
transcript will be made available of the conversation to participants and those interested.

1. The provincial government recently adopted Bill 30 which among other things devolves
all taxi / rides for hire governance and regulation to the City of Winnipeg. What public
policy issues does this bring forward? How should the city deal with or approach these
issues in order to develop its bylaws?

2. What makes Winnipeg unique or different from other Canadian cities in terms of its
transportation culture? How will TNCs transform the existing transportation
infrastructures in the city? To what extent should new TNCs and their infrastructures
adapt to and be transformed by the localities in which they seek to operate? To what
extent should regulatory models from other cities be applied to Winnipeg?

3. Much of the discussions have focused on Uber and the taxi-industry. What other ridehailing
or transportation options are available? What value do these different groups
provide? What are some of the challenges they face?

4. Recently, ride-hailing firm Uber lost its appeal in London against a ruling that its
drivers should be classed as workers with minimum-wage rights. As the city develops
bylaws to regulate taxis, ride-hailing companies, and other vehicles for hire how can the
rights of workers (whether taxi drivers, Ikwe driver, Uber drivers, etc.) be protected or
ensured?

5. The taxi-industry has worked hard over the years to lobby the government and protect
its industry. At the same time, ride-hailing is often seen as inevitable because
“technology” is viewed as the unstoppable march toward progress. Yet, this idea does
not recognize the amount of politics, money, and energy put in bringing new ridehailing
companies to Winnipeg. What kinds of politics are involved the struggles over
the transportation marketplace?

6. One huge public policy issue is the safety of taxis and ride-hailing services. How do you
think Winnipeggers are evaluating the risk associated with riding and being a
passenger? Are taxi drivers evaluating the risk in a different way than passengers or the
public? How should our civic government deal with safety issues going forward mindful
of industry and public input? Why do you think safety has been such as key issue?