Taxi drivers are on strike across Quebec today to protest a new law proposed by the provincial CAQ government. If passed, Bill 17 would, among other measures, eliminate the need for taxi permits and put in place a universal standard for training and background checks. Taxi drivers claim these provisions would give an unfair advtange to rideshare programs and spell the end of the taxi industry.
In response, drivers are refusing to pick up customers. Drivers have also organized to apparently slow traffic and create noise to draw public attention to their cause.
TLDR: Montreal taxi drivers have lined up to honk their horns and apparently slow traffic on Blvd. René-Lévesque in downtown Montreal. A video of the incident is below. Also below is a video showing two taxi drivers explaining today's protest in their own words.
Photos and videos captured by MTLBlog show one such demonstration in the heart of downtown Montreal. An eyewitness tells MTLBlog that at least one hundred taxi cars lined up to apparently slow traffic on Blvd. René-Lévesque. Honking horns have created a deafening cacophony along the busy thoroughfare.
We also spoke with two taxi drivers who say the proposed provisions are "inhuman" and "shameful." "We can absolutely not accept the new law," one man stated.
Watch them give their full remarks below:
Reports say that the strike will end at 7pm tonight.
In the meantime, Montrealers may have a more difficult time moving about the city today. Those who planned to commute by taxi today may have to resort to the STM.
A representative form Quebec's taxi union told MTLBlog that taxi drivers won't be responding to calls. We can confirm that four major Montreal taxi companies are not picking up phones.
Stay tuned for more news from this developing situation.