Public support for Uber strong: Leger poll
Published Wednesday, August 12, 2015 11:06PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 13, 2015 7:11PM EDT
Support for the controversial Uber ride service is surprisingly strong, according to the results of a new poll, obtained by CTV Montreal.
The Leger poll released Wednesday shows that 76 per cent of Montrealers have a positive opinion of new "sharing economy" services, including Uber, AirBnb and Etsy.
Commissioned by Uber, the company is hoping the poll counters recent protests by traditional taxi drivers against it.
Uber is an unregulated taxi service. While a user can hail a standard taxi through the mobile app, they may also choose uberX and get a driver who does not have a taxi licence. This service usually costs less than a licenced taxi driver.
According to the Leger poll, 53 per cent of Montrealers believe uberX should be legal. The highest percentage of supporters are those under age 35, at 63 per cent.
The poll also asked about uberX drivers who have had their cars towed and impounded by the city of Montreal. A total of 68 per cent of respondents did not agree with this measure.
Most Montrealers agree that that both levels of government (74 per cent for provincial, 73 per cent for municipal) should develop new regulations to accommodate these services, according to the poll.
The survey was conducted Aug. 7 - 9 among a representative sample of 501 English or French-speaking adults living in Montreal.
Using data from Statistics Canada, results were weighted according to age, gender, mother tongue and education.
A sample of 501 respondents would yield a margin of error of ± 4.90%, 19 times out of 20.
Taxi drivers say UberX drivers have an unfair advantage: their industry is regulated, with specific driving permits, criminal background checks, and a special permit needed to own a vehicle designated as a taxi.
Other critics are concerned about the privacy aspects of Uber, noting that Uber easily tracks the location of all of its customers, and gives them all ratings.
Uber executives say the poll shows Montrealers are using their platform, and so should be regulated as soon as possible.
"A year ago, almost exactly a year ago I was in the Transport Minister's office and I was telling them, we should create a new regulatory framework," said Jean-Nicolas Guillemette. "Today what we see is that Montrealers create their vision of a new sharing economy and they ask the government to create new laws for us."
The city of Montreal is expected to examine creating or modifying taxi regulations to deal with Uber in the near future.