Cabbies are continuing to battle Uber’s almost legal expansion in Quebec. The provinces controversial pilot program is almost underway, but taxi industry groups are pushing back by proposing a work stoppage day this Wednesday, which would be initiated across the whole province.
The taxi industry has banded together in a coalition called Front commun des taxis and wants to force a meeting with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. Cabbies insist that the pilot program agreement should never have been allowed to happen and that it undermines current taxi permits.
Quebec had originally taken a strong stance against Uber. The province drew up strict regulations and said the company either complied or left. Taxi drivers and reps were cautiously optimistic about the aggressive position. However, Uber negotiated a deal that allowed the company to operate legally for a year to assess how the market reacted and performed.
Taxi companies saw the reversal as a betrayal and have already seen two injunction requests denied by the courts. There is a threat that the industry will sue the province over broken promises and work strikes will become the next step.
The coalition is also unhappy that Uber drivers continued to operate illegally leading up to the introduction of the pilot program, and are still illegal. The pilot program will get under way Oct 14 after being delayed for two weeks. Also, Uber drivers can operate for the company with virtually no overheads. To acquire a taxi permits, cabbies must pay between $100,000 and $200,000. The coalition says this is simply unfair.
“They are sabotaging a regime into which tens of thousands of Quebec families have invested, and which was installed to ensure everyone a decent revenue,” the coalition said in a news release on Sunday.