The City of Montreal and the Office of the metropolis taxi Thursday unveiled an ambitious plan to dust off the taxi industry.
Although this plan include intensifying the fight against illegal transport – including one offered by Uber and UberX – the main objective is to standardize the industry and to enhance both the image, service and safety.
“We are at a crossroads,” said Mayor Denis Coderre presenting the plan.
This requires technological modernization through access to the same types of applications as those used by illegal services, installation of geolocation equipment, electronic payment and taximeters taxed.
Security will also rely on technology as all taxis must be equipped with emergency buttons and security cameras, whose recordings will however be protected against harm to privacy. Mayor Coderre also announced at the same time launching an international call for interest in these cameras, no offense to some drivers who have already expressed their reluctance to this monitoring.
“The question is not to say I feel like it, or it does not tempt me. All taxis will have a security camera, “ruled the mayor, adding that they had already been proven. “There have been pilot projects here: it has lowered the crime rate of 100 percent,” he said.
In regard to service and the image, it is anticipated the installation of advertising modules and information to customer use, the introduction of a uniform color for all taxi-cars and imposing a dress code, although it has not yet determined whether it will issue a uniform or simply guidelines.
“We apposerons a strong and distinctive visual signature for Montréal taxis,” the mayor said.
Meanwhile, the Ecole Polytechnique was given a mandate to industry data analysis to see if supply matches demand. There are currently 4,430 taxi licenses in the city and more than 11,600 holders of driver’s permit. Several speakers shared taxis of a possible surplus for the market, but the mayor Coderre has refused to move forward on a strategy if the study was to demonstrate that the number of permits is excessive.
Reaction to the phenomenon Uber
The mayor has sought to move away from the confrontational discourse and avoided mentioning the name of Uber, the service that provides transportation at a lower cost than a taxi through a computer application. It is clear, however, that while this deployment is directly attributable to the arrival of this new player.
“Yes, there are other players who arrive and force the hand, said Mr. Coderre. I’ve always said: it’s technology, it is for the market. But there is agreement once and for all (…) we need a framework where everyone works on the same footing, “he has said.
Ordinary citizens who become driver for Uber are not subject to any regulations, have no taxi driver’s permit or taxi permits – which sell around $ 200,000 – do not need any equipment (taximeter , radio, etc.) and do not pay insurance premiums.
The mayor intends to maintain a hard line against this company and any other similar “to defeat unfair competition which ignores the laws and obligations that apply to all”.
Several industry representatives were on hand for the unveiling of the plan and generally welcomed.
“The mayor, he really spoke from the heart. He does everything he can to reach a situation that can satisfy the taxi industry, “said the general manager of Taxi Western Coop, Charles Artin.
However, for all the taxi people, modernization and enhancement of standards will not solve the real problem, according to them, is the persistent presence of Uber.
Mr. Artin believes that we must be tougher on illegal location. “(We must) remove their license for six months the first time and the second time, be revoked for good,” he has said.
He argued that the fines, which range from $ to $ 1000 350, are of little use.
“There are people round the clock working for Uber, lawyers, they pay for the whole world,” he said.
Uber The company responded in an email sent to The Canadian Press, repeating that “Uber is not a traditional taxi business,” but a kind of transport facilitator between willing parties.
“We offer a practical and efficient technology platform connecting users to safe races, reliable and affordable,” does one said.
Unsurprisingly, Uber welcomed the opening expressed recently by Prime Minister Philippe Couillard and Coderre invited the mayor to be inspired.
“Seventy-five percent of Montrealers support urban carpooling; the Mayor of Montreal, which is the promoter of a “smart city ‘, has to listen to its citizens,” concludes the brief statement.