TappCar shutting down in Winnipeg, exploring female-only ride-share service

TappCar says it expects to train 500 drivers by month’s end, with 50 cars on the street Friday.

A Canadian ride-share service marketed as a discounted, regional alternative to Uber has shut down, with management pointing to the pandemic and soaring fuel prices as factors in its demise.

TappCar CEO Noel Bernier said the service shut down in Winnipeg as of Sunday. The Edmonton-based company had already shuttered operations in all other Canadian cities in early 2021.

According to Bernier, TappCar was still struggling from the fallout of the pandemic when fuel prices rose beyond what was sustainable for the company.

“It was getting impossible to recruit part-time drivers for a discount driver service,” he said.

He added TappCar passenger levels dropped off by 95 per cent when the pandemic first hit in March of 2020, noting Uber’s entry into Manitoba months later made it even more difficult for the Canadian company to recover.

“You have a global competitor like Uber that can afford to lose money during tough times. You have a much lower demand for what I call ‘social riding’. So as bars and nightclubs and that kind of environment went to zero, so did the people needing rides to and from those things,” he said.

TAPPCAR EXPLORING FEMALE-ONY RIDE-SHARE SERVICE

Bernier said with the former TappCar model in the rear-view mirror, the company is considering switching gears to launch a female-only, safety-forward ride-share company.

The service would likely employ only female drivers and service only female riders.

“From our point of view, the challenges of female safety and ridership have been ongoing and a reality for many, many years,” he said.

“However, the higher rates of violence and higher rates of crime in a post-pandemic area, we believe, make the service more needed than ever.”

Bernier notes they are still reviewing the concept’s viability in Winnipeg. The goal is to launch in the fall of 2022.