As of Wednesday, taxis greeting passengers at Trudeau airport are emblazoned with a hearty ‘Bonjour.’
Introduced by Montreal city hall in April, 4,500 Montreal taxis are standardizing their appearance with a new paintjob – white on the sides and a bright colour on top – with the word ‘bonjour’ printed on the doors.
In August, 365 taxis were selected in a random draw to serve the airport, with one-year permits valid as of Nov. 1.
As much as 70 per cent of the fleet will be energy efficient cars, and will also include 100 minivans. All are required to get a makeover with the new logo.
Taxi drivers have raised concerns because they will have to swallow the cost of the paintjob, despite struggling with competition from Uber.
The drivers will also be required to drive a brand new vehicle.
For one limousine driver at the airport, he said the new regulations have set him back $40,000 for the vehicle and another $1,500 for the new logo.
However another driver, Daikhi Miloud, was happy to make the change.
"It's an initiative, and it's impeccable," he said.
Officials from the city and Tourism Montreal say it’s worth it, because it’s part of the branding to help welcome travellers.
"It's a nice way to brand the destination versus a Philadelphia or a Toronto. The people in Montreal, they're extremely nice to the tourism," said Yves Lalumiere of Tourism Montreal.
The executive committee member in charge of transportation, Aref Salem, said taxi drivers serve as ambassadors to tourists and the makeover lends itself to the image the city wants to portray.
“They are our ambassadors here at the airport. They’re the first contact with our tourists, when they come to Montreal,” said Salem. “So we wanted to have this branding image for the taxi industry and say to the tourists, ‘you’re more than welcome here.’”
Tourists have been positive about the look.
"The cabs look really great. Clean, new fresh, and I think it's really a great tool to welcome visitors to Montreal," said Nancy MacDonald, a tourist from Edmonton.
That new logo is just the latest change as the taxi industry undergoes modernization as it faces new competition from Uber. Taxi drivers are now required to have background checks and to offer electronic payment.
The industry is also promising that a taxi tracking device, much like that of Uber, is on the horizon.