Jordan Friesen is kicking the tires. He's thinking about becoming an Uber driver in Winnipeg.

"Sometimes if I'm a little bit slow at work and I have time to kill, I like meeting people, driving them around,” said Friesen

When the province and city paved the way for ride sharing services to roll in March 1, Uber said it's coming.

Now it might be pulling a U-turn.

In a submission to the Public Utilities Board, Manitoba Public Insurance is proposing insurance rates for four different time frames for ride sharing. For each time option chosen, ride sharing drivers would pay five per cent above their all-purpose rate.

MPI gives this example of an average all-purpose rate and what each add on would cost a ride sharing driver.


Friesen said the rates seem a bit steep.

"I'm just going to be doing it you know a few hours here and there I don't think you'd make enough to cover that," said Friesen

Uber is not happy with the insurance structure either.

It’s submission suggests charging individual drivers for these time bands could be cost prohibitive for some drivers who work part-time only. It wants a blanket insurance model, otherwise Uber says it's pulling the plug.

“Based on the deficiencies in the MPI proposed product versus the type of insurance that is available to ridesharing companies in cities across North America, Uber will, unfortunately, be unable to consider expansion of services to Winnipeg on March 1, 2018." Wrote Uber

But MPI says the rate model is fair, gives drivers choice and prevents other vehicle owners from subsidizing Uber vehicles.

In a statement to CTV News MPI states: “The proposed insurance rates for private vehicle for hire operators is consistent with other jurisdictions…the proposed insurance model ensures that vehicle for hire operators are insured in a separate insurance class that will prevent cross-subsidization of loss experience with other major vehicle classes. Under the model, there is flexibility for vehicle for hire operator to select specific time bands in which they intend to provide for-hire services."

Winnipeg’s cab industry has been critical of regulations allowing ride sharing in Winnipeg. Taxi owners have said they’ll pay more to operate, creating an unfair playing field.

NDP leader Wab Kinew has backed the cab industry and its concerns. Kinew said MPI’s rate application for ride sharing is reasonable.

"It seems a little surprising that Uber is saying things aren't fair when they're being offered the chance to operate in Manitoba for something like 25% of what the taxi industry has to pay to do business here,” said Kinew

In a statement to CTV News ride sharing company and Uber rival Lyft said,

"While we appreciate the work done by the Manitoba Legislature, we do have serious concerns over the current insurance proposal and don't believe it would allow true ridesharing to operate in the province. We look forward to continuing to work with the Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation to find a way forward that expands Mantiobans' access to affordable, reliable transportation options like Lyft."

Hoping to drive an Uber one day, Jordan Friesen hopes this gets smoothed over.

“That's a big one, in the cities you travel in the States, it's everywhere, good it's reliable and quick,” said Friesen

A notice on the PUB website says a decision is expected on Monday.