UberX debate shifts from Quebec streets to political arena
Representatives from taxi industry, Uber make their case at province's National Assembly
Provincial hearings on regulating ride-hailing services such as UberX began in Quebec City today amid protests and a new call for a criminal investigation into the company.
- Montreal UberX driver speaks out after egging ambush
- Montreal taxi drivers 'occupy' downtown in UberX protest
- Mass UberX protest by Montreal taxis sparks official calls to suspend app
The hearings, by Quebec's transportation and environment commission, come as friction between taxi drivers and UberX drivers intensified this week.
Benoit Jugand from taxi drivers union: we aren't against innovation. We're against an unfair business model (ie <a href="https://twitter.com/Uber">@uber</a>) <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/uber?src=hash">#uber</a>—@ryhicks
On Thursday morning, Québec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir and four taxi owners took their concerns to provincial police's economic crimes squad.
Khadir told reporters he's hopeful provincial police will pursue fraud charges against UberX for providing an "illegal transportation" service.
At the same time, a rally in support of Uber, which included testimony from drivers, was held in Montreal.
Guillemette said he will use the hearings to make a case for the province to regulate Uber in a way that "embraces technology."
Transport Minister Jacques Daoust said the hearings aren't just about Uber — they are about regulating the industry as it evolves along with new technology. He said Uber will need to get permits to operate on the road.
On Wednesday, hundreds of taxi drivers held a protest in downtown Montreal. One UberX driver said he was the target of an egging ambush by taxi drivers.
Six organizations or companies presented briefs Thursday. They included Uber Québec and the Regroupement des travailleurs autonomes Métallos (RTAM) — the group representing Montreal's 4,000 taxi drivers.
The hearings run over five days, to March 10.