Some of the details are emerging from Quebec’s agreement with Uber to open a year-long pilot program to test the company in the province. Under the agreement, the ride-sharing company will triple its output in Quebec and will be granted 300 taxi permits for drivers to operate.
The agreement was reached earlier in the week and has already found strong protests from the traditional taxi industry.
From the 300 permits, there will be 50,000 of transit service hours per week. However, Uber could double or triple this amount as the agreement allows up to 150,000 hours of travel every week. Taxi drivers have been angered by the agreement and call it a betrayal. However, the industry says the province has miscalculated the hours to permit ratio afforded to Uber.
If there is 50,000 hours then there will actually be 1000 licenses argues spokesman Felix Tremblay. If the limit becomes 150,000 hours then it would be treble the amount of licenses. “At $ 200 000 per license, they’re giving them a nearly $ 600 million gift,” says Tremblay.
The Ministry of Transportation posted the details of the agreement on its website. The ministry points out that Uber must pay a royalty of $0.90 per fare during the first 50,000 hours of service. That fund will be sent back the taxi industry to help modernize it. Between 50,000 and 100,000 hours the base fee moves to $1.10 and then to $1.26 between 100,000 and 150,000 hours.
Uber drivers will also have to meet provincial criteria to work in Quebec. For example, drivers must have an intermediate taxi transport permit, which costs $500. However, cabbies say the cost is stark contrast to the $200,000 fee taxi drivers pay for their permits. From now, Uber drivers have 90 days to secure a Class 4C driving license, putting more pressure on drivers to be properly trained.