After a nearly two-year Hiatus, Montreal’s Téo Taxi is finally back in business after abruptly ceasing operations back in January of 2019. Quite a bit has changed during that time.
Taxelco, Téo’s parent company, was acquired by billionaire Quebecor CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau back in 2019. Taxelco also owns two traditional cab operators in town, Hochelaga and Diamond Taxi.
While the mobile app, zero emission electric vehicles and underlying technology that made Téo popular remain, gone are the Tesla vehicles they had become known for. This time around the company is operating a fleet of 55 all electric Kia Souls, and they’ve expanded to Gatineau, where 5 of those vehicles will be based at first. Téo also has plans to expand to Quebec City and elsewhere in the province as part of its comeback, and will do so as demand grows. The new Kias offer a range approximately twice that of Téo’s previous fleet, allowing drivers to spend more time on the road, and less time idly charging their batteries.
“I am very happy to announce the rebirth of Téo Taxi. I would like to salute the vision of its creator, Alexandre Taillefer. We are building on its foundations. We are now confident that the new Téo Taxi is here to stay, especially since the technological, business and regulatory context has evolved. We intend to electrify the Taxelco fleet by 2030. The return of Téo Taxi is therefore an important milestone in our plan for the future. We want to make 120 new Téo electric vehicles available per year, thereby becoming the largest fleet of electric taxis in Canada,” explained Péladeau in a company press release.
As mentioned by PKP, Taxelco has also announced a plan to have all of its drivers convert to electric vehicles by 2030. As cab drivers working for Hochelaga and Diamond begin using their own electric vehicles, they will be transitioned over to the Téo brand. Achieving their objective would effectively mean the end of those brands, turning them into symbols of a bygone fossil-fuel era.
Another advantage the new incarnation of Téo will enjoy is the province’s new law 17, which relaxes some rules for the taxi industry and allows Téo to set up pretty much wherever it sees fit in Quebec.
PKP, who has long been criticized for anti-labour practices in some of his other businesses, did not elaborate how exactly the full-time employees of Taxelco would be converted over to Téo which now only employs independent contractors. Téo employees had been unionized under the previous incarnation of the business.