Montreal

Uber faces backlash for offering to pay province 10 cents per ride

Uber is facing a backlash in Quebec after the car-sharing service proposed to pay a tax to the province in return for the government recognizing its services.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre says ride-sharing service needs to fit within taxi regulations

Montreal's Taxi Bureau has hired two inspectors to crack down on Uber drivers. (CBC)

Uber is facing a backlash in Quebec after the car-sharing service proposed to pay a tax to the province in return for the government recognizing its services.

Just days after Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said he was open to legalizing Uber's services, the company offered to pay Quebec 10 cents per ride.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said the tax fails to address key issues. Coderre said Uber should fit within taxi regulations, instead of having its own set of rules.

"It's not a menu à la carte. We have to look in the overall, what should be the future of the taxi and the industry itself," he said.

Uber is a car-sharing service where people can pay the driver for a ride. However, Uber does not pay the same fees to operate in the city or insurance costs as traditional taxi services.

Big cities are struggling with the legality of the service, which allows drivers to work with little overhead costs and to undercut traditional cab fares.

In Quebec — as in many other places in Canada — the government strictly regulates the number of taxi permits that are granted. For instance, the island of Montreal can have 4,522 permits.

Benoît Jugand, a spokesman for RTAM, a union that represents self-employed workers including many in the taxi industry, said Uber's proposal is insulting.

"It's only a show that they're doing because they want to have the attention of the [Premier]," Jugand said.

In Chicago, Uber pays the city 30 cents per ride.

Uber said it has always been willing to discuss a framework for ride-sharing in Quebec.

The company said it is encouraged by Couillard's openness, but continues to face opposition at the municipal level.

Montreal's Taxi Bureau has hired two new inspectors to crack down specifically on Uber drivers.

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