Photo cred - blog.uber.com
Now nearly anyone in Montreal can become a taxi driver, thanks to the launch of Uber X, a new feature added to the existing Uber taxi-calling app. Active in Montreal starting this morning, Uber X lets any citizen become an impromptu cabbie, with passengers reaping the savings.
Uber announced the arrival of Uber X on its own city blog, outlining the service. Only citizens who are 21 years or older and have their own four-door car, which needs to be a 2005 model or newer, can become a Uber driver. From there, drivers pick up passengers who request a ride which works out to be much cheaper than any taxi fare.
A Uber X ride will cost about 30% less than a standard cab ride, a figure given by Uber and quoted by Radio-Canada. Montrealers still stand to make a quick buck out of being a driver though, as only 20% of the fare goes to Uber. Payments are all madw online with pre-approved credit cards, which is standard for Uber, so at least no driver will have to deal with customers who skip out on the bill.
According to CBC, Montreal authorities have gone on the record stating that they would protest against "commercial carpooling" in order to safeguard the jobs of the many cabbies in the city. How they will oppose the service remains to be seen. Uber has requested an audience with Quebec authorities and mayor Denis Coderre, both having yet to accept.
Interestingly, Uber apparently has an agreement set up with the RCMP where a criminal record check will be done on all registered drivers, a policy not forced upon the rest of Montreal's taxi fleet. So if you think about it, riders may actually be safer in Uber X cars, as the drivers have passed a thorough background check. Something to consider given the recent cases of sexual assault in Montreal cabs.
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