Quebec’s hugely controversial pilot program to let Uber operate in the province for a year has been delayed by two weeks. The program was supposed to get underway this weekend (Sept. 29) but will now start on October 14.
The announcement was made today. The problem seems to be to do with filing of papers. A law can only come into effect 15 days after the government has published official details about it. For some reason the government only published the details on Friday Sept. 30.
“In a written decision handed down on Tuesday, Justice Michel Yergeau of the Quebec Superior Court rejects the injunction request, allowing Uber to keep operating in the province. It is actually a controversial decision because until the one year pilot program begins Uber is continuing to operate illegally in Quebec.
A group of taxi industry representatives had sought the injunction, asking the courts to suspend Uber and maintain taxi driver rights. However, the justice said that there was no hard proof to show that Uber was directly responsible for loss of earnings amongst cabbies. He did not share the industry’s need for urgency and pointed out that taxi groups should have pursued legal action earlier.
“If the government wants to see us in the streets then they are going to see us, and it’s starting tomorrow,” said Benoit Jugand, a spokesperson for one of the taxi unions.
The battle in Quebec is particularly bitter. The province had once pledged to stand firm against Uber with strict regulations. However, the US ride-hailing company managed to negotiate a deal for a one-year pilot program. Taxi representatives reacted angrily, accusing the government of going back on promises and caving to Uber.
Cabbies are not willing to drop the fight, despite the latest setback. They plan a demonstration outside the National Assembly on Wednesdays in Quebec City.”