Uber, the ridesharing company that made its name by steamrolling local regulations, isn’t much for compromise. Just ask the French-speaking Canadian province of Quebec.
On Tuesday, Uber Quebec’s director general Jean-Nicolas Guillemette announced that the company is leaving the province on October 14, citing too-tough regulations there. The planned move was first reported by the CBC and confirmed by Uber on Tuesday. Several days before the company’s announcement, it had warned that new rules proposed by the provincial Ministry of Transportation would force Uber to exit Quebec. Uber has a history of threatening Quebec lawmakers with leaving if the company’s policy demands aren’t met, but has only now followed through.
By all accounts, Quebec has been reasonable with Uber, especially considering that the city of London in the UK just banned the company entirely for not being a “fit and proper” taxi service. (Uber plans to contest the London ban.) Although Quebec has faced consistent pressure from taxi companies to regulate Uber like a traditional taxi firm, the province has declined to do so. Instead, last year the province granted Uber a temporary license to operate as part of a pilot project.
Just last week, Quebec officials decided to renew Uber’s pilot in the province with precious few caveats, including: Drivers must have 35 hours of training (the same as taxi drivers), cars must be inspected annually, and background checks must be performed by police rather than a private company. Uber contends that these restrictions are far too onerous, and so the company will leave after its initial license in Quebec runs out in mid-October.
On social media, many are bemoaning the loss of convenience that an Uber trip affords a busy commuter. Others, however, are focused on the fact that Uber seems to be throwing a tantrum because it didn’t totally get its way in Quebec.
Uber Quebec director Guillemette told reporters on Tuesday that the company is open to discussions with the provincial government.
Maybe a company willing to play by the rules will see an opportunity and step in to fill the Uber void. For now, though, it’s back to taxis in Quebec.
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