Uber cars seized in Quebec, drivers fined and licences confiscated

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Uber cars seized by SAAQ
WATCH ABOVE: Despite reaching a deal with Uber, Quebec is continuing its crackdown on the ride-sharing service, seizing cars and suspending licences. Global's Kelly Greig reports – Sep 14, 2016

Despite reaching a deal with Uber, Quebec is continuing its crackdown on the ride-sharing service.

Since Uber arrived in the province in February 2015, 700 vehicles have been seized and even more infractions have been given out.

This week, at least a dozen drivers had their cars impounded, licences revoked and were forced to pay $3,750 in fines and fees.

READ MORE: Quebec taxi drivers may sue province over ‘illegal’ Uber deal

“We seized 10 vehicles for the Montreal region, the drivers were working for Uber and they lost their licence for seven days,” said SAAQ road patrol spokesperson Eric Santerre.

Montreal’s taxi bureau declined an interview, but did confirm to Global News that Uber is still an illegal service.

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Last week, the government of Quebec and Uber agreed to keep the service running for one  year as a pilot project.

The catch

The project hasn’t officially started yet as the law states there needs to be a 20 day grace period between the signing of a new deal and it’s implementation.

That means for now, Uber drivers must still follow Bill 100, which makes it illegal to not have a taxi permit.

READ MORE: Montreal taxi drivers protest ‘lack of progress’ on regulating Uber

Barry Eidlin, a professor of sociology at McGill University, explained the government is perfectly within its rights to confiscate Uber driver’s cars.

“I think it’s a message from the government that they need to be taken seriously,” he said.

“When you’re dealing with a company like Uber, sometimes you need that strong message time and time again because they have shown they don’t listen to other people very well.”

Global News reached out to Uber officials, who declined an interview.

READ MORE: Uber negotiations in Quebec: will they stay or will they go?

With the taxi industry in turmoil, Eidlin thinks both Uber and cab companies will have to rethink their business models, especially with the new pilot project on the way.

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“People talk about how the taxi industry will have to change, but I think both parties will,” he said.

“I think the whole framing of Uber vs. taxis is wrong. We have to focus on how are people going to get around and how are those people, who are doing that, getting treated?”

Taxi industry officials are expected to file an injunction Thursday to stop the Uber deal from going forward.

READ MORE: Agreement reached in Uber-Quebec dispute

They insisted they haven’t ruled out pressure tactics, including a general strike.

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