Uber driver pelted with snowballs, eggs on eve of Quebec hearings

Hearings have begun in Quebec City over how the province will deal with ride-sharing services like Uber, which Montreal’s taxi union is demanding be permanently outlawed.

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A small protest outside the National Assembly Thursday was relatively calm, with drivers using their vehicles to block the street while honking horns or holding placards.

That followed a raucous protest Wednesday, where at least one Uber driver was pelted with snowballs and eggs, and had flour dumped on his yolk-covered windshield. Supporters also handed out fliers calling Uber X “savage capitalism.”

Benoit Jugand, an official with the Montreal taxi union RTAM, said Uber should not be given equal time to speak at the Quebec City hearings because its UberX drivers do not follow current regulations.

RTAM has filed a request in court for an injunction to disable Uber’s phone applications, including UberX, which connects people needing rides with nearby drivers who use personal vehicles and don’t have taxi licenses.

Uber Montreal’s General Manger Jean-Nicholas Guillemette said he is asking Quebec’s government to put in place a regulatory system that will “embrace technology and modernity.”

Guillemette said consumers are better served with more competition.

“When you have more players, you push each other to the next level and this benefits society,” he said.

Quebec transport minister Jacques Daoust, who took over the portfolio last month, told reporters he is open to Uber but wants to make sure it’s paying taxes properly.

Uber is willing to start charging taxes on each ride to cover licenses for its drivers, according to Guillemette.

Earlier this month, Uber spokesperson Jean-Christophe La Rue told CTV Montreal the lawsuit threatened by Montreal’s taxi union is “without merit and aims at preserving the monopoly of the taxi industry at the detriment of consumers.”

La Rue said Uber was encouraged that Edmonton opted in January to become the first Canadian city to design regulations accommodating UberX.

With a report from CTV Montreal


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