Thanks to the appointment of a new minister in the Quebec government, Uber may not be leaving the province, after all.
That is, at least, what the ride-hailing service hopes will come out of André Fortin acting as Quebec’s transport minister.
Only several days before Uber’s “we’re going to leave, forever” deadline on October 14th, Quebec’s provincial government mixed things up a bit, appointing the 35-year-old Fortin as Minister of Transport, among other things.
Employees at Uber see the switch-up as a step in the right direction, heralding the appointment of a youngish transport minister as a sign of improved relations between Quebec and Uber.
Uber drivers speaking to CBC have said that Fortin is young enough to use his cellphone, therefore understanding the utility of Uber.
Others have said that the timing of Fortin’s appointment, mere days before Uber is set to leave Quebec, means that the provincial government is taking action to ensure the ride-hailing app stays in the province.
And they may be right, not that anything definitive can really be said, yet.
When asked about his thoughts on the topic of Uber in Quebec, Fortin skirted the question, saying he didn’t really have any thoughts on the topic.
Taxi drivers are already worried about what Fortin may do, fearing the newly appointed Minister of Transport will create a new agreement with Uber that will entice the company to stay in Quebec.
A protest carried out by taxi drivers was held outside of Fortin’s Montreal office yesterday.
Uber originally said it would leave Quebec if the province goes forward with imposing a new set of stricter rules on the company and its drivers. Forcing 35 hours of training on drivers was one contentious recommendation, prompting Uber to announce its departure.
Fortin’s new role as transport minister may not herald any change and Uber may still just cease operating in Quebec in the next two days.
Still, there is a dim ray of hope. Fortin has until October 14th to work things out with Uber, which will please many Millennials, if only because Uber makes getting around the city far easier.
Unfortunately, the price for convenience is the livelihood of Quebec-based taxi drivers. But maybe the new transport minister already has a workaround that problem in mind.