The Quebec government has confirmed its commitment of $44 million to modernize the taxi industry over the next five years through an announcement on the website of the ministère des Transports, de la Mobilité durable et de l’Électrification des transports.
Thanks to increased competition, specifically from Uber, some cab drivers have been left with $200,000 permits that are now worth as little as $75,000.
The government will support the ongoing modernization of the taxi industry by implementing two key measures: the establishment of a modernization support program for the taxi industry, and the creation of a working group whose mandate will be to evaluate solutions for the plummeting value of taxi owners’ permits.
The issue of financial compensation will be at the heart of discussions and final recommendations of the working group. Although the government also said it won’t reimburse taxi drivers immediately for the value of their permits, it is working on a way to compensate them in the future.
“The implementation of these measures demonstrates that we are listening to the needs of the taxi industry, which is currently undergoing modernization. Moreover, we will continue to work together to offer users a modern industry that meets their needs. Today, we reiterate our commitment to this industry to provide the necessary support to continue its modernization and position itself in the new 21 st century Quebec,” said André Fortin, Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transportation Electrification, at the announcement.
Specifically, Transport Minister Andre Fortin said the funds help taxis gain access to new technologies, such as electric vehicles and recharging infrastructure and increased accessibility for customers with disabilities.
“The taxi industry modernization program is great news for workers in this field, especially those in the Saint-Michel neighborhood. I look forward to today’s announcement, including the formation of the task force, which aims to analyze environmental issues to provide concrete solutions to modernize the taxi industry, including the issue compensation for the fall in the value of taxi owner’s permits,” said David Heurtel, MP for Viau and Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion.
The program will also include measures to help the taxi industry get involved in the progress of the accessibility of taxi vehicles and present a distinct brand image.
The program is planned to go into effect in early 2018. It will initially be financed by Uber’s fees paid to the Land Transport Network Fund.
All quotes originally published in French and translated to English