Montreal orders airport taxis to adopt 'Bonjour' branding by November

Some taxi drivers will be expected to make a big investment in branding after the city announced a mandatory aesthetics change for all cabs serving Montreal's airport.

Taxi drivers, company owners have mixed feelings over new requirement

The branding overhaul was unveiled by the City of Montreal in April. (Radio-Canada)

Some taxi drivers will be expected to make a big investment in branding after the city announced a mandatory aesthetics change for all cabs serving Montreal's airport.

As part of the city's makeover of its taxi fleet, all cabs at the airport will now have to adopt the Bonjour signature and two-tone colours by November. Painting a car in line with the program has been estimated to cost close to $1,500.

The head of one taxi company said that the decision means drivers will have to absorb the out-of-pocket costs at a time when the industry is already struggling. 

"If it's silver, grey or any other colour, to do the whole car white, and then the colour of the company or the city's choice, it's going to cost about $3,000," said George Boussios, the president of Champlain Taxi.

"It's not cheap."

'It has to be reinvented'

The rebranding, which was unveiled in April, was touted by Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre as a way to make the city's taxi fleet more competitive.

While the city initially said it wouldn't require drivers to paint their cars, some believe it will help the image of the ailing Montreal taxi business.

"The taxi industry has to be reinvented — it needs to be modernized," said Alexandre Taillefier, the founder of Téo Taxi. "And the signature is a great signature for Montreal."

Seasoned taxi drivers, like Filippo Moneta, hope that the city will announce funding to help foot the bill.

With a downturn in clients, Moneta said he already has to work seven days per week just to make ends meet. While he supports the fresh look that brings a uniformity to Montreal's cabs, he said it shouldn't be only on drivers and companies to absorb the costs. 

"If the government would say 'We will give you the money,' then that would help a lot," he said.

With files from CBC's Matt D'Amours and Radio-Canada