Quebec Uber drivers have cars seized, fined up to $7,500
It’s been a difficult week for many Quebec Uber drivers, marred by confusion over the new deal with the government.
As many as 19 Uber cars have been seized this week in sting operations, and some drivers have received fines of $7,500 and more.
The seizures and fines come in spite of the government saying it would allow Uber to operate in Quebec.
An Uber driver who asked only to be identified as Farid said he is now wondering how he'll pay them.
“I cannot afford to pay even a fraction of that amount or I wouldn't be driving Uber – albeit on a part-time basis,” he said.
On Tuesday at 10 a.m., Farid was called to a home in Laval.
Farid said a well-dressed man told him to wait while he goes to get his wife.
“I didn't realize what was going on until I found myself trapped between two cars -- one police car from behind, and one car from Sécurité routière,” he said.
The road safety division of Quebec’s automobile insurance board the SAAQ handled the operation with the assistance of Laval police, explained Farid.
Farid said he was told that because he didn't have a taxi permit or a chauffeur's licence he was being charged with ferrying passengers illegally.
“I said, ‘What do you mean illegally? It's been legal since last night.’ So he said, ‘No you are mistaken,’” said Farid.
On Sept. 8, the Quebec government announced a pilot project to allow Uber to operate in the province.
As part of that pilot project, drivers would require chauffeurs licences and a taxi permit, but they were told they had until December to get the licence, information Uber e-mailed to all its drivers.
The SAAQ said it believes the pilot project only comes into effect on Sept. 29, meaning anyone driving an Uber before that date without the proper permits is breaking the law.
“Uber may have some communication work to do with its drivers,” said Eric Santerre of the SAAQ road safety division. “It's not up to us as law enforcement agents to inform them of what the law is.”
Uber’s spokesperson was not available for comment.
In the meantime, Farid said he is now without one source of income, and has no licence or car.
“I have two children to take care of, to take all over the place and I needed my car,” he said.
Uber told him the company will help him fight the ticket.