Montreal taxi drivers have had enough.
No longer waiting for the local or provincial government to step in, the Montreal taxi union filed an injunction yesterday to outright ban Uber in the city and all of Quebec.
Convinced Uber is illegal, the injunction taken to Montreal's courthouse also lists a bunch of examples of how Uber is a poor service that doesn't meet standards upheld by the taxi industry.
A class-action lawsuit is also in the pipeline that will see to it that any money lost by the taxi industry due to Uber's presence be recompensed.
The Montreal taxi bureau is quite confident that the injunction will pass, ensuring the Uber will be removed from any and everywhere in the province of Quebec.
Now, we totally understand the plight of Montreal taxi drivers. To have a new (and wildly popular) contender enter the taxi industry, one that does things in a manner you don't approve of, and put your job security on the line is incredibly scary.
Such a strong and direct reaction from Montreal's taxi drivers is understandable and mildly expected, especially since the municipal and provincial government have done next to nothing about regulating (or banning) Uber.
But then there's the flip-side to the issue. If the ban gets approved, that will mean no one in Montreal, not you or me or anyone else, will be able to use Uber, ever.
"Oh, what a tragedy" you might be saying to yourself. Except it is.
No one can deny the inherent convenience of a taxi, at least in certain situations. You leave a bar/venue, there's a cab right on the street, you hail it, and you drive on your way.
But Uber is by far the superior service in almost every other situation.
With the touch of a few buttons on your phone, a ride is brought directly to your location. From there, you can track the driver, their arrival time, see her/his face, name, and user rating, and perhaps best of all, the entire process is cashless. A layer of safety is added by the fact that the entire ride is GPS-tracked, too.
Taxis in Montreal simply don't provide the same level of convenience or service. Sure, you could call a cab, but let's be honest, no one wants to make a phone call when you could just perform the same task through an app.
Simply put, having Uber taken away from everyone in Montreal would kind of suck. Given that nearly 300,000 Uber requests are logged in Montreal every month, we aren't alone in that sentiment.
It's also interesting to note the number of issues listed on the taxi drivers injunction used to demonize Uber. These include a lack of background check on Uber drivers, not performing a maintenance check on cars, and not training its drivers.
Except Uber does do all of those things, at least according to the Montreal General Manager. Admittedly, we would need the government to check and make sure that's all being done, but that isn't to say Uber isn't doing those things.
Then there's the loss of revenue issue that taxi drivers are seriously up in arms about. Again, we're not discrediting the plight of Montreal taxi drivers, but are there any concrete figures on how much money they actually lost since Uber arrived?
It would make the case a lot stronger if some tangible data was presented to the public, that way we could understand how much (or how little) Uber is actually affecting the success of the taxi industry.
And somewhat ironically, the news of the injunction against Uber in Montreal comes only a week after Edmonton officially legalized the ride-hailing service.
Not simply letting Uber exist as is, the City of Edmonton created a series of regulations Uber must follow in order to continue operating in the city legally. These included a minimum fare price, accredited insurance and documentation for drivers, a restriction on Surge pricing, and a lump sum Uber must pay Edmonton annually.
Another interesting rule is how only taxis can be hailed in person or called by phone.
Toronto may do the same, as city council leaders are once more being asked to discuss and vote on the Uber issue.
Yet, in Montreal, we haven't more than a sentence from municipal leaders. Despite the controversy that has surrounded Uber for some time (including all of those cars getting impounded) no one from the City of Montreal has stepped up to the plate and said something will be done for or against Uber.
The City of Edmonton demonstrates that Uber is willing to make concessions to operate within a municipality, and that rules can be made that will respect the taxi industry.
Why should the city even bother? Because that way, all of us citizens who use Uber and taxis can benefit. The local government should be acting in the best interest of the people, and by just standing idly by through all of the Uber drama, they're not really doing their job.