Manitoba

Uber drivers could pay $1,000s less than cabbies for insurance, MPI says

Uber drivers will pay more for insurance than standard drivers but one-quarter what taxi drivers pay if a rate application submitted to the Public Utilities Board goes through.

But taxi drivers will be eligible for discounts to bring their rates down

Manitoba Public Insurance proposes charging ride-hailing service drivers far less than taxis for insurance. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

Uber drivers will pay more for insurance than standard drivers but one-quarter what taxi drivers pay if a rate application submitted to the Public Utilities Board goes through.

In an interim application submitted to the PUB on Dec. 15, Manitoba Public Insurance outlines how it proposes to insure different types of taxis and ride-hailing service drivers.

Under the rates outlined in the application, ride-hailing drivers who choose to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will pay about $2,500 for insurance. Taxi drivers operating around the clock will pay about $10,300.

The difference is based on data from other cities that allow ride-sharing, the application says.

"Loss exposure is greater than the private passsenger all-purpose insurance use but less than a taxi," it says.

In other words, ride-hailing vehicles get in more accidents than regular vehicles, but fewer accidents than taxis.

Rates unfair, coalition says

The insurance rate differences are unfair, said Scott MacFadyen of the Winnipeg Taxi Coalition, which represents Unicity and Duffy's taxi services.

"We're going to be, just over the coming weeks, asking a number of questions of MPI, what their rationale was in coming up with those rates.

"The element of fairness is something that we've been pushing since Day 1, and certainly that applies to insurance rates."

MPI spokesperson Brian Smiley confirmed in an email that taxi drivers currently pay about $10,000 for insurance yearly, but said they will be eligible for lower rates.

"Moving forward, their premium will be determined by how many time bands they select," he said. "The same will apply to passenger [vehicles for hire; their insurance] premium will be determined by how many time bands they select."

New classification system

MPI plans to pool all taxis and ride-hailing vehicles under a "vehicles for hire" label. There will be four classes, including taxicab vehicles for hire and passenger vehicles for hire. Limousines and accessible cabs are the other two classes.

All vehicles for hire will be able to choose from different hours of operation, called time bands, and all time bands will be available to them, the application says.

"Customers can self-select any combination of 4 time bands and premiums will be based on the number of time bands selected," reads the application. "Customers will have the option to purchase 1, 2, 3 or 4 time bands."

Drivers who choose all four time bands will be eligible to operate all days and all hours.

Ride-hailing drivers who choose all four time bands will be charged their regular all-purpose insurance rate, plus a 20 per cent premium. If the driver has no discount for safe driving, the insurance premium will be about $2,569.

A taxicab driver would pay about $10,358. 

Good driver discounts

The application is not all bad news for the taxi industry, said MacFadyen. 

"Previously we were not eligible for discounts for good driving," he said. "You know, if you have eight merits or seven merits, you get a discount on your MPI insurance. We are now eligible for that discount.

"That's obviously a very good thing for those drivers who have really good records, which is the vast majority of our drivers."

The PUB will consider MPI's application in January.

The time bands

  • A: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sunday-Thursday, 7-11 p.m.
  • B: Nightly, 11 p.m.-7 a.m.
  • C: Monday-Friday, 7-10 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.
  • D: 6 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Sunday

For every band a ride-hailing driver chooses, a five per cent surcharge will be added to their insurance.

For every band a taxi driver does not use, a 20 per cent discount will be applied to their insurance.

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About the Author

Elisha Dacey

Journalist

Elisha Dacey is a journalist with CBC Manitoba. She is the former managing editor of Metro Winnipeg and her work has been seen in newspapers from coast to coast. Reach her at elisha.dacey@cbc.ca.