The San Francisco technological company Uber Technologies Inc. with the slogan “available locally, expanding globally” has reached over 60 countries — yet the legal status of Uber is still the subject of debate in Montreal. Uber is currently in a legal limbo status; it is neither legal nor illegal. With this current legal situation, Uber drivers and passengers are both subject to fines and legal consequences. As a result, Uber covers all legal expenses and impound car fees. The question is whether the costs of the legalization process is worth it.
Uber is a ride sharing app that links drivers to passengers seeking transport. Passengers register their credit cards to the app which allows efficient wireless transactions and completes the booking between the two parties. The app is convenient for people, especially students in downtown Montreal. Uber generally allows for shorter waiting times and has a higher rate of guaranteed arrival compared to taxis in Montreal.
Some of the monetary costs of legalizing Uber stems from the court fees and fines that Uber claims responsibility for. Every Uber driver’s infraction regarding the legalization of Uber results in impounded cars or fines. In other words, Uber has to pay $1000 for every contractor’s car that is impounded and $350 for each legal fine. In addition, Uber covers all legal fees and sends lawyers to represent their drivers in court.
In addition to monetary costs, Uber and Uber drivers both have to deal with nonmonetary issues like threats from Montreal taxi drivers. Unlike other Uber drivers in the world, many Uber drivers in the Montreal area do not have the square Uber company logo sticker on their dashboards in fear of threats from taxi drivers or running into the police. Some taxi drivers even purposely order Ubers and call on city officials to arrest them. Besides threats from Uber drivers, Uber is also subject to raids by Revenue Quebec.
All of these costs are obviously setting Uber’s venture into the Montreal market a step back. With Uber’s gradual legalization around the world, it is very likely that Uber will be legalized in Quebec. Even though Uber might make up the financial costs with economies of scale once Uber is legalized, they will still have to face the negative stigma from the government and taxi drivers alike. Many individuals at Uber already feel the amassing stress from trying to crack into the Montreal market. It is evident that the war between Uber and the government is still inconclusive, but the legalization of Uber will be worth the financial costs and threats down the road.
By: Gabrielle Ho
Montreal is at war with Uber. Which side will surrender? (2015, May 22). Retrieved October 11, 2015, from http://www.canadianbusiness.com/innovation/montreal-declares-war-on-uber/