New rules require Montreal cab drivers to open doors for passengers, wear uniforms
New rules for Montreal’s taxi business will force drivers to wear uniforms and open the door for passengers.
Graham Slaughter, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Sunday, November 1, 2015 10:49PM EST
New rules for Montreal’s taxi business will force drivers to wear uniforms and open the door for passengers, but many taxi operators have doubts that the courtesy will woo back riders from popular ride-hailing services such as Uber.
A new dress code will require drivers to wear black pants, a white shirt and closed-toe shoes while on the job. In addition, security cameras will be installed in every cab.
Any driver caught breaking the rules can be fined up to $375.
The policies, passed by Montreal city council in September, have angered some drivers, who say the move simply puts added pressure on cabbies to make up for lost profits.
“The government doesn’t want to do anything about Uber, [it] just wants to squeeze the taxi driver,” taxi driver Hosain Khabazha told CTV Montreal.
The regulations, which go into effect January 1, are billed as a way for the struggling taxi industry to boost sales as it competes with the low prices of Uber, the ride-hailing service often accused of siphoning customers from taxi industries across the globe.
“For sure it’s going to help them to compete,” said Alef Salem, a Montreal city councillor. “[Customers] know when they call a taxi they’re going to have very good service.”
But going the extra mile may not always be feasible, especially during high-traffic times, one driver suggested.
“Think about it: in the middle of rush hour, [drivers must] open someone’s door, your door, close door,” said taxi driver Abraham Mesfun. “What will happen to the driver? What will be the reaction of people?”
Montreal taxis have feuded with Uber ever since the ride-hailing app was introduced to the city in October 2014. Since then, several protests have been held, UberX vehicles have been egged and, most notably, Uber’s Montreal offices were raided by provincial authorities in May over allegations of tax evasion.
Local officials have cracked down on Uber by hiring additional inspectors to the city’s Taxi Bureau to target UberX cars that aren’t licensed to transport passengers.
A spokesperson for the Quebec Taxi Development Committee says he hopes the new rules will cause customers to see cab drivers in a better light.
“There is the perception in some portions of the population that cab drivers are rather reluctant to give good service, which is not the case,” said spokesperson Felix Tremblay. “We need to put away [that perception].”
A similar set of regulations will be introduced on Nov. 15 for taxi drivers working out of Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
The new rules ban casual wear such as jeans, baseball caps, sandals and shorts and force drivers to wear collared shirts and long pants. The fleet will also aim to include 35 per cent hybrid and electric cars.
With files from CTV News’ Vanessa Lee