Montreal is the next major Canadian municipality to tackle the possibility of adopting Uber with new regulations alongside the traditional taxi industry. The city has recently struck a deal with Uber that will see the US ride hailing service and other like it move into the city on a legal basis.
Uber’s adoption by Canadian cities and provinces has never been smooth. The taxi industry has often opposed the company’s presence, even in a legal capacity. It is unclear how cabbies in Montreal will react to the deal, but their representatives will meet today to prepare their response.
Leading up to the confirmation of the agreement, taxi drivers have been unanimously opposed to Uber operating in the one-year pilot program afforded by the city. The response is likely to be condemnation of the government and Uber’s business model. However, reports suggest there is a sticking point as taxi groups cannot decide the best course to pressure the government to reverse the agreement.
However, representatives say the meeting will help clear up any differences and a unified front will be presented after its completion. Legal action appears to be the preferred method of action, something that is increasing in popularity this month. However, strikes could also come into play if cabbies thinks shutting down would have the sufficient impact they want.
Montreal’s transport minister, Laurent Lessard, has already met with taxi lobbies and lobby spokesman Guy Chevrette told Canadian Underwriter that talks have been unproductive:
“It’s clear for (Lessard) that everything is legal, despite all the proof that we offer him,” Chevrette said, pointing to a sticking point that sees Uber continue to operate in the city despite the pilot program not yet getting underway. Until that happens, the ride-sharing company is still operating illegally.
“The government thinks it is right,” he added. “It considers that Uber is operating within the law. It’s discriminatory and not equitable.”