Montreal’s taxis will get a makeover, but owners and drivers said the new look does nothing to address the harsh economic realities their industry is facing.
On Sunday, city hall officials unveiled an initiative dubbed "Taxi Bonjour" - cabs with a sleek, two-toned paintjob that's white on the sides and a bright colour on top, with the word "Bonjour" emblazoned on the doors.
Under the city's plan, 4,500 taxis would standardize their appearance to match the 12 that are already on the roads.
Champlain Taxi President George Boussios said that while the new colour scheme might make for good marketing for the city, there are serious concerns regarding who will pick up the cost.
“The industry needs changing. Obviously the industry is reeling with Uber and other factors. This is a good start but what I see here is a good image with the city but it puts the drivers and owners in extra debt," he said. “I don’t know how they’re going to convince owners to invest between $1,000 to $2,000 to put the film on their cars. They’re have to show them that it will enhance their income and I don’t know how it will.”
In 2016, Montreal's cab companies waged legal war with Uber, which eventually led to the provincial government stepping in and passing a law that has the company operating in the province on a pilot project basis. Boussios said that until
However, not everyone in the industry is opposed to the project. Teo Taxi founder Alexandre Taillefer welcomed the news, saying the distinct look would help make taxis easier to see and contributes towards promoting a more professional image for the industry.
"The industry had to reinvent itself," he said. "We're very happy to hear about the new vision the city's putting together."