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Taxi driver urges Quebec to change flat rate to Trudeau airport during construction

A Montreal taxi driver with his car painted with a new logo, at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport in Montreal, Wednesday November 1, 2017.  .
A Montreal taxi driver with his car painted with a new logo, at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport in Montreal, Wednesday November 1, 2017. . File

A Montreal cab driver is calling for changes to the flat-rate fare charged to passengers who travel to and from downtown Montreal and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Dorval.

For several years, that flat rate has been set at $40 plus tip. Jamal El-Houssine says ongoing construction is making that fare unreasonable for drivers.

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“I’ve been a taxi driver for over 10 years and I don’t get it,” El-Houssine told Global News.

“Even with regular rates without traffic, the fare would be more than $40.”

El-Houssine explained the current state of construction downtown and on the Turcot Interchange makes it exceptionally difficult to get around – especially on weekends.

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“With the detours and traffic, it can take over one hour,” he argued.

“It’s really not fair.”

Jean Vachon, director of communications and marketing for Taxelco, owner of environmentally friendly taxi company Téo, pointed out the flat rate is imposed by the Montreal Taxi Bureau and not the taxi companies.

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The City of Montreal, however, assured Global News that it is, in fact, the Commission des transports du Québec (CTQ) that enforces taxi rates.

Neither the Taxi Bureau of Montreal nor the CTQ responded to Global News’ multiple requests for comment.

Unlike Téo and other taxi companies, Uber drivers do not have a flat rate and can forgo standardized charges.

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A ride from downtown Montreal to the airport can cost anywhere from $30 to $56.

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According to the ride-hailing company’s website, the final cost depends on factors such as time of day and weather.

The airport flat rate is just one element contributing to the ongoing conflict between Uber and Montreal taxi companies.

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“With Uber existing in the city, it’s just not fair,” maintained El-Houssine.

“The flat rate should be waived during construction.”