Taxi vs Uber Heats Up in Quebec

CBJ — Many taxi drivers in several Quebec cities have gone on strike to protest the provincial government’s deal with Uber.

The cabbies are asking to meet with Premier Philippe Couillard over what they called a two-tier system that favours the ride-hailing company.

In an open letter to Couillard, industry representatives argued the government should buy back the drivers’ costly taxi permits, which cost them upward of $200,000 if a car is included in the price.

The government’s one-year pilot project will allow Uber to legally operate in the province as of Oct. 14.

Under the agreement, Uber drivers won’t have to rent or purchase traditional permits, but will collect federal and provincial sales tax and contribute to a fund to help modernize the taxi industry.

Traffic on some Montreal streets slowed to a crawl as taxi drivers protested in two separate downtown demonstrations and loudly honked their horns.