Montreal taxi owners to get up to $46,700 in compensation from Quebec government
Funds aim to make up for drop in taxi permit value caused largely by ride-sharing services such as Uber
Quebec is offering $250 million to compensate taxi drivers in the Montreal, Quebec City and Gatineau areas whose permit value dropped in the last four years.
The funds, announced by the government Friday afternoon, aim to make up for the loss of value caused largely by ride-sharing services such as Uber.
The aid for taxi permit owners will vary depending on where they work.
It will range from $46,700 per permit for owners in Montreal, to $2,800 for an owner in Buckingham in Western Quebec. Owners in Quebec City will get $32,800.
The compensation is available for owners who held their permits between April 1, 2014, and March 27, 2018.
If the same permit is held between different owners, the amount will be divided according to the amount of time the permit was held by each person.
In addition to this aid, every permit owner across the province who held a permit up to March 27 of this year will receive $1,000, regardless of their location.
There are 7,600 taxi permits in Quebec, according to government figures. More than 4,500 of those permits will receive the maximum compensation of $46,700.
Protests over Uber
The province is also announcing further aid to help modernize the taxi industry, and merge certain taxi agglomerations.
In December, the Quebec government announced it would provide $44 million over five years to help modernize the province's taxi industry as it struggles to compete with the ride-hailing app Uber.
The Ministry of Transport estimates the value of a permit in Montreal at just under $106,000. That's down from almost $178,000 in 2014-2015, which is approximately when Uber arrived in the province.
In 2016, taxi drivers held protests in Montreal against Uber, saying the company would have a negative impact on their business.
The Regroupement des intermédiaires de taxi de Québec (RITQ), which represents 1,200 drivers in Quebec City, and Taxis du Grand Montréal et Rive-Sud, which counts 5,000 taxi-industry workers, welcomed the announcement on Friday.
They said that although the efforts of taxi groups are paying off, their work isn't done yet, however.
"We intend to stay the course and get all the money we need," the organizations said in a joint statement.
With files from La Presse Canadienne