Quebec is taking a tough stance with Uber, despite saying that the company will likely be adopted in the province, it will have to work with authorities to find suitable regulations to govern the UberX service. A week after a general assembly meeting to discuss ways to work ride-sharing companies into the local system without disrupting the taxi industry, the province is saying Uber needs to start playing by the rules.
Transport Minister Jacques Daoust, who has stated Uber will inevitably be accepted into Quebec eventually, took a tougher stance against the U.S. based company today. He said that Uber needs to start abiding by provincial laws or the authorities in Quebec will be forced to revoke driver’s licenses of those operating UberX vehicles.
“If we have to go there, we’ll go there. Uber cannot replace drivers’ licenses. It can pay the fine, but it can’t replace somebody’s license,” he said.
Such a tactic would surely drive Uber out of the province, but the most likely scenario is that the company yields to some of Quebec’s demands and the government adopts new regulations for the company. That happened in Edmonton, but such a scenario is some way off in Quebec, and in the meantime the UberX service still faces fierce opposition from taxi drivers.
The president of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal told National Assembly hearings that the arrival of Uber in the province will disrupt the taxi industry and result in drivers losing money.
“If I were a taxi driver with a permit bought at its highest value ($200,000), I would be nervous right now,” Michel Leblanc said.
Taxi drivers say the UberX service is unfair competition because drivers do not have to go through the expensive and time consuming licensing process. Uber argues its position as a technology company means it should not be subject to taxi regulations, but governments disagree and until Quebec can draw up regulations, Uber is likely to continue illegally operating in the province.
As regulations are unlikely to come anytime soon, there is another standoff brewing between the Uber and the provincial government, which may see the authorities revoking driver licensing.