Daily prompt, DCMontreal Commentary, DCMontreal Light, driving, Montreal, Public Transit, Quebec

More Montreal Uber Reaction

Taxi

A few days ago I wrote a witty post about the Uber ride-sharing opting to leave Quebec unless certain regulations were dropped. It seems the government is going to stick to its guns and consider all those taxi drivers who paid a fortune for a license.

imageI have often heard the term entitled used to refer to millennials. I never really understood what was meant until today. In today’s Montreal Gazette there is a letter to the editor that makes it more evident to me. The writer, while not divulging their age, says that the government is more interested in protecting the ‘outdated’ taxi lobby than in welcoming a new entity that young folks like.

Could it be that the government is interested in protecting those citizens who drive taxis and have paid for that right over a group of scofflaws who want to jump the line? Could it be that the letter writer feels entitled to buck the system because he does not like it?

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Good Riddance to Uber

No_Uber

Yesterday the ride-sharing company Uber announced it will cease operations in Quebec next month unless the government lifts the 35-hour training requirement. For the last year, the company has been operating on a trial basis that expires in October. Obviously, it is no coincidence that the service will call it quits at that time.

When the company first arrived here there was significant backlash from taxi companies and drivers. Quebec is a highly regulated province: from government-controlled liquor sales to restrictions on residential rental units. It has been like this for as long as I can remember.

Taxi licenses here are very expensive. There is a finite number of them and, much like a house, they are sold for whatever the market says is the going price. Like teachers and other professionals, taxi drivers must pass a police background check as well as strict periodic inspections. Uber tried to bypass all this. They tried to jump the line.

Their ‘business model’ does not fit with Quebec‘s regulated taxi system. Having never used Uber I won’t miss them,

DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Ottawa City Council Caves to Uber

Taxi

After months of rejection the city councilors of Ottawa on Wednesday voted to allow taxi services such as Uber. There was one dissenting vote among the twenty-four cast. Bravo Eli El-Chantiry.

Unlike many of my friends south of the border, I like regulations. I like big government keeping an eye on things

I have always had a soft spot for taxi drivers. Blame Harry Chapin. It is a tough way to make an average living. Long hours and, in Quebec, very expensive licenses – their price has soared to roughly $200,000 in Montreal, making its market worth roughly $900-million. Taxis are highly regulated by various agencies.

Unlike many of my friends south of the border, I like regulations. I like big government keeping an eye on things. That is why I am a huge fan of the democratic process; we get the government we deserve.

It seems patently unfair to me that men and women who make their living as taxi drivers, who pay the exorbitant fees, who toe the line regarding vehicle standards, who already face fierce competition should have to deal with amateurs working their turf.

It seems patently unfair to me that men and women who make their living as taxi drivers, who pay the exorbitant fees, who toe the line regarding vehicle standards, who already face fierce competition should have to deal with amateurs working their turf.

If I bought a whole whack of cheap ground beef and a barbecue and set up business in front of a McDonald’s selling my wares at a discount price I would soon be hauled off by police. Licensed bar owners pay a heavy tax when they buy liquor to sell on their premises. They pay SOCAN fees that allow them to play recorded music without screwing artists. They pony up thousands of dollars for pay-per-view sports events, much more than private citizens. They are highly regulated.

So next time there is a big UFC bout I think I will set up a table outside a sports bar, get a bucket of ice and some plastic cups. I will drop by the liquor store and pick up a few bottles of hooch at the much lower private citizen price, then stop at the grocery store for some cases of beer. I could play some tunes on a portable stereo and sell my goods without the hassle and expense of regulation. Of course I would soon be hustled off.

After the price gouging debacle of last New Year’s Eve I am surprised there are still some who will use Uber at all.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DCMontreal on Twitter and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Uber Taxi Service Uber-Gouges Clients

Uber: to an extreme or excessive degree
                                Merriam-Webster.com

The Uber taxi alternative has been getting lots of media attention over the last year or so. Most of it positive. That is until the recent New Year’s Eve debacle. Since the first of the month Uber has been in the news not for providing a service, but for uber-gouging its clients.

But some folks found themselves being charged amounts equal to an airfare for a ride home from a downtown bar. This is a despicable uber-abuse of people trying to act responsibly.

Stories abound about New Year’s revellers acting sensibly and, after having a few drinks, opting to take an Uber ride home only to be charged as much as seven times the usual rate. Uber claims that the ‘surge’ pricing is an attempt to induce more drivers to make themselves available to fulfill higher demand.

But some folks found themselves being charged amounts equal to an airfare for a ride home from a downtown bar. This is a despicable uber-abuse of people trying to act responsibly.

I have never been a fan of the Uber concept.  In Montreal we are spoiled by an over abundance of taxis. I imagine many of us have experienced the phenomenon when waving to a friend across the street and having three taxis almost collide rushing to you thinking they are being hailed. Montreal taxis are regulated and owners pay a hefty price to get a taxi license. Uber is unregulated and anyone can sign on to be a driver. Seems to me that’s an attempt to jump the line.

Imagine a corner store selling batteries and bottled water at seven times the usual price during a power outage.

But now, with class action suits pending, the Uber folks have shot themselves in the foot. Basing a business on providing a similar service to regular taxis but at a lower price is one thing. Scalping customers when demand is high is another. Imagine a corner store selling batteries and bottled water at seven times the usual price during a power outage. Of course demand is higher, but does that mean you should gouge customers in the short-term, or provide service at the usual rate – or lower – to keep people on side for years?

Perhaps the best example of price gouging can be found in the travel industry. Airfares and hotel rates balloon during ‘high season’. But even these culprits don’t increase things sevenfold. That is both extreme and excessive, as well as a good incentive to stick with regular taxis.

IKEA gets it right. When it is not raining they sell umbrellas for $10 and when it is raining the price drops to $3. I imagine the increased volume on rainy days results in a profit.

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+

 

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Montreal Taxi Drivers Must Open Doors for Passengers

It just gets tougher and tougher to be a taxi driver these days. As if navigating never-ending road work detours in an effort to provide good service, after having shelled out over $200,000 to get a taxi permit in the first place was not bad enough, Montreal city council has just passed a law that requires taxi drivers to get out of their cars and open the door for passengers when getting in or out of the taxi! When I heard about this on the morning news I had to check the calendar as I thought it was an April Fool’s Day prank.

When I heard about this on the morning news I had to check the calendar as I thought it was an April Fool’s Day prank.

In addition taxi drivers must dress appropriately and have clean cars; no problem, I can understand that one. But requiring drivers to be running about in traffic to open doors just seems like a waste of time to me. Cabbies have been having a tough time with Uber lately, so a little sprucing up of their cars and the odd bit of politeness may help keep their clientele.

 How many (more) cyclists will be ‘doored’ by taxi drivers adhering to the new rule?

Montreal already has some of the worst traffic conditions in Canada. Old roads being repaired, new construction sites causing detours are but two factors that contribute to drivers’ frustrations. Now add into that mix taxis that can no longer zip over to and pick up a flagging customer then pop back into the flow of traffic but now have to stop, get out and open the door. How many drivers will lose doors, and hopefully not their lives, as they quickly dash around their car? How many (more) cyclists will be ‘doored’ by taxi drivers adhering to the new rule?

I have to believe most fares will open the door and get in before the driver has a chance to do so. Will this result in a fine being levied?

DCS_Grad_2 DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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