Uber convinced Quebec plans to legislate company out of business
Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016 12:00PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 20, 2016 7:43PM EDT
The head of Uber in Quebec is convinced the provincial government is going to pull the plug on app-based car services.
Jean-Nicolas Guillemette said his company is ready to pull out of Quebec if the demands the province makes on its drivers are too onerous.
Over the past few months the provincial government has floated several ideas about how to regulate Uber, and it seems to be settling on the notion of making Uber drivers rent taxi permits on a day-by-day basis.
That's similar to the by-law enacted earlier this year in Calgary, which requires Uber drivers to purchase a $220 permit every year.
Uber said that fee was too high and stopped operating in that city.
Instead, Guillemette said Uber prefers the legislation passed in Edmonton, which has the company paying 6 cents per each ride taken.
"People need more choice and more affordable choices in Quebec and what will happen if they regulate us in a way that we cannot operate is that again in Quebec we will be the place across North America who pays the most for taxi rides and to move across the city and this is not acceptable so the government needs to think first about the citizens and and not being influenced by the taxi lobby," said Guillemette.
Taxi drivers in Quebec have been pressuring the provincial government to crack down on Uber drivers, saying they should be subject to the same rules and fees as taxi drivers if they want to transport passengers.
Transportation Minister Jacques Daoust reiterated Wednesday that he is planning to table legislation in the coming weeks.
"My plan is still to present a bill before the end of the session, and having it enforced before the end of the session," said Daoust.
"I'm saying you will have to respect the law, they say 'If I have to respect the law, I'm gone,' so it's [their] decision, not my decision."
Mayor Denis Coderre was even more succinct when asked about Uber threatening to leave.
"Bye bye," he replied, and shrugged.
Guillemette said because many Uber drivers only work part-time, many will not drive if the startup costs are too high.