Members of the Montreal Taxi Owners’ Association (MTOA) say that alternative carriers, including UberX and ride services posted on online classifieds, have cost the taxi industry a large fraction of its business.
“Drivers go out to work and they come home with half of what they used to,” said association administrator Kamal Sabbah.
He said the revenue loss has had a considerable impact on the estimated 15,000 licensed cab owners and drivers in the city.
Mayor Denis Coderre declared UberX illegal in October 2014, but the drivers say little has been down to enforce the law.
They’re asking the city to increase fines, which are currently between $350 and $1,500. They also want police to be more vigilant.
MTOA president Max-Louis Rosalbert says he also wants authorities to publicize their interventions, “so that new people who are considering working these illegal jobs know they risk getting caught.”
Sabbah says that for consumers, it’s a matter of safety.
“It’s secure for a client to take a taxi,” he says, citing the permit, training and background checks required.
He says that in the case of illegal carriers, the client “doesn't know who he's dealing with.”
“This is very important when you send your kid, someone you care about. You want to know who's driving your family.”