Téo Taxi announced yesterday that they were shutting down operations, leaving over 400 surprised and angry employees to find a new job.
Employees were notified that the operation was closing its doors through a mass email sent out to all drivers. Those who hadn't checked their email that morning showed up to work at the crack of dawn, only to find security gards blocking the entrance of the office.
Alexandre Taillefer, founder of Taxelco, the company that owns Téo Taxi, was nowhere to be found while this news was breaking.
TL;DR Founder of Téo Taxi published an open letter to PM Legault which makes recommendations on how to save the company's physical assets, which leave out all mention of the 400+ employees who were left jobless overnight.
This morning, Taillefer published an open letter to Quebec Prime Minister Legault in La Presse. The letter seems equal parts genuine remorse and PR damage control.
He lays out five pillars that he says will allow the government to use the "still-warm organs" of the company. This would mean allowing the fleet of electric cars to remain on the road, and have Hydro-Quebec acquire the electric charging ports.
He also suggests there needs to be more government support in tech development, and that the app used to hail the taxis should be made available to all. He does concede that flexible tariffs, which would vary depending on how occupied the system is, would be useful.
I think it is important to remember that the government has already invested large sums in the company, investments which it will never recuperate. Public institutions are estimated to have invested a total of $30 million dollars into the company. By comparison, Taillefer and his partner have invested a combined total of $4 million.
It is therefore incredibly bold to ask Legault to continue the work that Taillefer himself was unable to. It is important to recognise that significant amounts of money were invested into the company's physical infrastructure, but this does not mean that it will ever become profitable.
Taillefer leaves an important part of the company out of the recommendations altogether: the drivers. It may be implied that, if the taxis are allowed to stay on the roads, the drivers will be able to continue driving them. But there's no guarantee that any company will want to take on an additional 200 cars.
FYI Bankruptcy filing does not protect the workers... protects the owners. And all those taxd ollars are lost. The majority shareholder of Téo Taxi’s parent company is Fonds XPND Croissance, which in turn is part of XPND Capital... https://t.co/chFHE6RkAQ #assnat #qcpoli #polqc— somecanuckchick🇨🇦 (@somecanuckchick) January 30, 2019
The letter is an unsatisfying ending to an unsatisfying venture, which sought to be socially and environmentally conscious but ultimately failed.