Amidst yesterday's turmoil with the taxi industry, Uber, everyone's favourite ride-sharing service, took advantage of the tense situation and found new customers.
In a controversial move, Uber sent sales reps to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport to recruit customers that were stranded and looking for a ride. Uber sales representatives were there to help people download the app and order their first ride.
A stream of travellers were left without a way into town yesterday afternoon, so Uber saw an opportunity. After sales reps helped people book their first ride, drivers would arrive within 5 minutes at no extra surge price, a bonus for new riders.
Uber customers in the city, on the other hand, had to face surge prices of almost 2x the normal price.
TL;DR Uber took advantage of the taxi strike and recruited new customers at the airport yesterday afternoon. They offered customers fast rides with no surge pricing. Uber representatives didn't comment on whether or not this was by design or simply a coincidence.
Uber surged 1.5 the moment the taxi's strike. Now imagine how much they can afford to surge with no taxi's around. To anyone that thinks Uber is for the people, just remember they agreed to leaving Montreal if they had to pay for their drivers to be trained...— A (@AyoubLansari) March 25, 2019
The taxi industry in Quebec is on strike throughout the week, protesting Bill 17, a new government proposal that aims to de-regulate the taxi industry by abolishing the need for permits and removing regional restrictions.
Quebec taxi drivers have made their desperation known to various media outlets, calling out the CAQ government and blaming them for what they call an "inhumane bill" that will "destroy the lives of many families".
Taxi unions are calling for the government to re-evaluate their decisions on this controversial bill and refine their aim. Taxi drivers don't want their permits to be devalued to the point of worthlessness, which is exactly what they claim Bill 17 will do to them.
Transport Minister François Bonnardel, in a public statement yesterday, warned striking drivers that the $500 million compensation package for Quebec taxi drivers would be the government's final offer. He said those taxi drivers shouldn't punish their customers and instead, try to reach a reasonable agreement with the CAQ government.
Je suis pro Uber. Pis si y'a des chauffeurs/chauffeuses de taxi qui sont pas contents, ben arrêter d'brailler pus aller dans une autre industrie.— David Desjardins (@DavidDe51302623) March 26, 2019
Sorry gang but taxi driver in montreal are just a bunch of whiner who refuse some competition.
Today, taxi drivers continue to strike throughout the province with protests planned in Montreal and Quebec City. Downtown Montreal will once again hear the symphony of horns along Rene-Levesque because taxi drivers are planning their protest in front of the government office.
This morning, Uber was recorded to have a 1.8x surge price on customers going Downtown. Travellers are advised to consider better transit options this week. In the wake of this strike, the STM has already planned to increase metro service during rush hour.
Customers who were left stranded yesterday praised Uber's initiative with many deciding to exclusively use the ride-sharing service for their transport needs.
People are divided on their allegiances, however. Many blame the taxi industry for complaining too much and demand that they capitulate to the government's demands. Others blame Uber for destroying a job that is primarily worked by immigrants, accusing them of dirty business practices.
Ironically, Uber drivers in Los Angeles are currently protesting wage cuts and have refused to provide service. While taxi drivers in Quebec fear that Uber is coming after their livelihoods, Uber Los Angeles has cut driver's wages by 25%. Maybe Uber is the real problem, after all...
Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.