Quebec taxi drivers claim that they face unfair competition
Montreal - AFP
Quebec taxi drivers went to court Tuesday seeking a permanent injunction banning Uber in the Canadian province, in just the latest legal challenge against the ride-sharing app in several countries.
The union representing 4,000 taxi drivers in Quebec says Uber is illegal and wants it shut down locally and is also considering launching a class-action lawsuit against the startup to recover lost revenue.
They claim unfair competition because Uber does not follow local taxi regulations and its drivers are not licensed to chauffeur passengers.
Spokesman Benoit Jugand said the taxi union, Regroupement des travailleurs autonomes Metallos, had no choice but to seek an injunction because the government refused to enforce its own laws.
"It's simple: taxis are legal and Uber is illegal. The law says it and we simply want the laws to be applied," he said.
Uber "is not carpooling within the meaning of the law" and its drivers "provide transport against remuneration without a license and without submitting to public protection and consumer rules," added union lawyer Marc-Antoine Cloutier.
Uber was expected to argue that it is a software company, not a transportation company. At the same time, it has offered to work under government regulations if they are loosened.
Uber spokesman Jean-Christophe De Le Rue called the union's accusations "groundless and an attempt to preserve the monopoly of the taxi industry to the detriment of consumers."
An Ontario court recently rejected a similar application by Toronto taxi drivers, while Edmonton, in Western Canada, last month became the first Canadian province to unveil new regulations tailored for Uber, effective March 1.
Uber has been hit with a litany of other court action from France to San Francisco and Hong Kong.