MONTREAL—Deep-rooted frustration among taxi drivers with the UberX ride-hailing service rose to the surface on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at a demonstration involving several hundred cabbies in Montreal.
They parked their vehicles in an industrial park for more than an hour to listen to speeches that slammed UberX and promised even stronger actions if the provincial government fails to act.
The anti-UberX protest was one of the biggest demonstrations of those held in cities across the province that day.
About 100 taxi drivers also staged a demonstration against Uber in front of the national assembly in Quebec City.
“We will not accept UberX—that’s the message,” Wilson Jean Paul, a spokesman for taxi owners, told the Montreal crowd.
The drivers called on the government to clarify its position on the new service, which allows users to hail a car using an application on their smartphone.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard suggested recently he’s open to legalizing the ride-booking service while Montreal’s mayor is strongly against it.
“Two weeks ago he (Couillard) declared it was a good idea, but at the same time the minister of transport had a different position,” Dominique Roy, the president of Diamond Taxi told reporters.
“We want to make sure everyone who is involved has a clear position and we know exactly what’s going on.”
Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, Uber’s Quebec general manager, said the company is open to discussing regulations with the province.
“We will need to sit down and see what the government wants from us specifically, to make sure that we can move forward,” he said.
“We were really happy to see that Mr. Couillard said that he would support innovation and that he will look forward to create a new regulatory framework for Montrealers and Quebecers.”
Guillemette said Uber has also proposed an extra tax of 10 cents per ride.
“It was done in some jurisdictions in the United States, so this is something we put on the table already,” he said.