An Alberta-based ride-sharing company says they may have a solution to fill the gap in transportation after Greyhound announced it will be ceasing operations across the prairies.
TappCar, which already operates in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, is experimenting with inter-community travel from smaller centres to larger cities.
The company just started offering service between Steinbach, Man. and Winnipeg — a 45-minute commute.
Speaking for the company, John Morris told 650 CKOM they’re learning how to operate in under-served communities like Steinbach, which has a population of nearly 16,000 people.
“We’re looking at what the actual impacts of Greyhound’s withdrawal are going to be,” he said.
“There’s a number of options out there.”
He suggested a smaller ride-sharing service could be more successful than large companies in providing transportation for smaller communities because they would use smaller vehicles than the large buses employed by Greyhound, Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) and smaller private companies attempting to fill the void.
“We’re looking at greater flexibility,” he said.
Morris said TappCar would only enter into markets that “make sense” to the company, and the question remains whether service for isolated communities could be profitable.
He noted they’ll have to balance profit margins with affordability for riders.
“That’s the sweet spot,” he said.
“You have to examine what the actual costs will be, and that will help determine the kind of service that will be provided.”
The provincial government is moving forward with the legalization of ride-sharing services in Saskatchewan, while city councils in Saskatoon and Regina are continuing to work at balancing rules for the industry with those governing taxis.
Morris said once those rules are sorted out, TappCar could enter the market in Saskatoon, and possibly Regina.