Ride-hailing firm Uber has announced that it will cease its operations in Quebec, Canada in order to avoid tough new regulations which were introduced last week. The new regulations that were unveiled by the Quebec provincial government seek to mandate drivers of Uber to undertake 35 hours of compulsory training as opposed to the current 20 hours. Traditional taxi drivers in Quebec also undertake the 35 hours of compulsory training.
Besides the increase in the training hours the new legislation also requires that police carry out criminal background checks on Uber drivers as opposed to private security firms. Additionally the Uber drivers have to take their cars for inspection every 12 months. Tabling of the proposed legislation is expected to take place next week.
According to Uber’s general manager in Quebec, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, the added training requirements are likely to deter new drivers.
“Can you imagine someone on Airbnb that is renting his apartment once, twice or three times month or three times a year? That person would not be required to take 35 hours of training,” said Guillemette.
Unless the proposed rules are scrapped Guillemette maintained that the ride-hailing firm would pull out of Quebec mid next month. The ride-hailing service began its Quebec operations last year under a pilot that ran for one year. So far it has managed to sign up one close to one million users in the province. At its provincial office the service employs over 50 full-time workers. According to Guillemette there are about 5,000 drivers who offer rides on the platform every week which translates to approximately 3,000 full-time positions.
During the pilot phase of the project among the issues drivers of the ride-hailing firm were ticketed for included having criminal records, accepting rides that had been hailed off the streets, driving aged cars and lack of vehicle identification.
The move will affect cities in Quebec and this includes Montreal, the second-biggest city in Canada as well as Quebec City. Uber’s operations will however not be affected in other cities in Canada such as Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. Currently the ride-hailing firm is locked out of Winnipeg and Vancouver since there is no provincial regulations in the respective provinces – Manitoba and British Columbia.
The revelation by Uber that it could quit its Quebec operations coincides with an earlier move by the transport regulatory body in London, Transport for London, indicating that it intended to strip the ride-hailing service a license to carry out business in the British capital.