Uber, the online ride-hailing service that has been at the centre of a controversy for the past two years that saw its attempts to establish itself in the Quebec taxi industry, will cease operations in Quebec as of Oct. 14.
The final straw for Uber, which has been negotiating with the Quebec government for months in an effort to co-exist with the taxi industry, reportedly was a government demand that its drivers submit to a 35-hour training program already imposed on taxi drivers.
The multinational reportedly feels such a program is incompatible with its business model, which relies on part-time drivers who would presumably not be ready to undertake the course.
Other government demands included mandatory vehicle inspections every 12 months and background checks on drivers performed by police rather than a private firm. (Shades of Uber London's 13,000 fake DBS certificates)
The stage seemed to be set for some kind of push back from Uber last Friday, after Quebec Transport minister Laurent Lessard announced the new conditions, describing them as merely an extension of a year-old pilot project permitted under the current rules.
That led Uber Quebec spokesperson Jean-Christophe de le Rue to accuse the government of adhering to “new and challenging regulations that favour old policies instead of incorporating the benefits of new technology … based on our current understanding, these changes significantly threaten Uber‘s ability to continue operating in Quebec.”
The measures came after a year of discussions with the taxi industry, which resulted in 19 recommendations to Lessard. But those discussions followed a series of public splits and policy reversals within the Quebec Liberal government over whether Über could co-exist with the province’s taxi industry.
In May of 2016, the youth wing of the Quebec Liberal Party and some business groups criticized the government’s lukewarm or sometimes hostile attitude toward the ride-hailing service, and while the Couillard government and then Transport minister Jacques Daoust took a tough line with the service, insisting drivers obtain Class 4C driver’s licences and taxi permits, those conditions were eventually dropped and a pilot project developed to try and marry Uber’s business model within the existing taxi industry.
Uber has been making waves for the taxi industry and the Couillard government since it became a part of Montreal’s transportation landscape in 2015.
The taxi industry complained Uber was engaging in unfair competition, since its drivers didn’t hold expensive permits required of taxi drivers, some of which sold on the second-hand market for nearly $200,000.
Then Transport Minister Robert Poëti had the same complaint, and Montreal‘s Taxi Bureau seized more than 400 cars in 2015 driven by Uber drivers, for engaging in “illegal transportation.”
Reacting to the news, a coalition of taxi owners said the government must not bend to Uber’s threats to pull out if it doesn’t get its way.
“Uber is not obliged to cease operations it is only doing so to frustrate users so they can put pressure on the government,” said Georges Malouf, a spokesperson fort he group. “Once again, instead of negotiating in good faith, Uber prefers to use bullying tactics.”
The coalition pointed out that Boston instituted criminal background checks by police last April, and the company is still operating. However, 8,000 drivers for Uber and its competitor Lyft were forced to stop driving for the service, representing 11 per cent of all drivers.
Source Montreal Gazette.
Taxi Leaks Extra Comment:
So there you have it in Uber's own words.
They only employ part time drivers, can't operate if they have to have yearly vehicle inspections or driver background checks.
Unlike London Uber don't have to cease operating but are doing this to frustrate potential users to put pressure on government to change the regulations in their favour.
Hence the media attack on London's Taxi trade following a fake petition which has now come to light 'AGAIN'.