Montreal

Quebec offers more help to taxi-permit owners as it rushes to pass Bill 17

After many weeks of discussion with members of the industry, Transport Minister François Bonnardel said Monday compensation will be paid rapidly rather than over five or six years.

Compensation package for deregulating taxi industry to make way for Uber to increase from $10M to $40M

The Quebec government is amending Bill 17 to sweeten the compensation package for taxi drivers who paid as much as $200,000 for permits that have plunged in value since the arrival of Uber in major Quebec cities. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

The Quebec government is proposing new measures to compensate traditional taxi drivers who paid for expensive permits which will be abolished if Bill 17, the proposed legislation to deregulate the taxi industry, is passed. 

After many weeks of discussion with industry players, Transport Minister François Bonnardel said Monday that compensation will be paid rapidly rather than over five or six years.

In addition, the aid program for taxi-permit owners will increase from $10 million to $40 million. 

Finally, the government has committed to award traditional taxi drivers the exclusive contracts for adapted transport.

If passed, Bill 17 will fully integrate app-based ride-hailing services like Uber.

Taxi permits would be abolished, territorial restrictions removed and a single set of requirements would be imposed on all operators on areas such as training and background checks.

Bill 17 stipulates that only vehicles identified as taxis, with rooftop lanterns and taxi meters, would be able to wait at designated stands. Only taxis would be allowed to pick up people who hail them from the street or contact them through a dispatcher.

Bonnardel has said that the proposed legislation will put an end to various pilot projects launched by Philippe Couillard's former Liberal government, including one allowing Uber to operate in three cities in the province: Montreal, Quebec City and Gatineau.

The minister is hoping Bill 17 will be adopted by the end of the week, especially considering that the province's Uber pilot project is coming to an end on October 14 and cannot be extended.

Taxi drivers in the province have been voicing their frustration as they've watched permits that cost as much as $200,000 a few years ago become worthless with Uber's entrenchment in major Quebec cities.

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