January 29, 2019 10:35 am
Updated: January 29, 2019 11:45 am

Teo Taxi halting operations, laying off all drivers, says union rep

A Teo Taxi fleet.

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Teo Taxi has halted operations and laid off all its drivers, a union spokesperson says.

Executives met with employees, including drivers, Tuesday morning to discuss the company’s future.

READ MORE: Electric service Téo Taxi lands at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport

Teo Taxi spokesperson Chu Anh Pham told Global News the meeting was not about a labour conflict, but rather concerning operations at the privately-owned electric taxi company.

She would not give further detail.

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Stephane Lacroix, communications director for the Teamsters, said the company’s roughly 400 drivers receiving layoff notices early Tuesday morning from Taxelco, Teo’s parent company.

He said drivers who showed up before their 4 a.m. shift were the first to learn the news; some were met by security guards and others by managers.

READ MORE: All-electric cab company putting a charge in Montreal’s taxi industry

A company notice shared with media said a reorganization was unavoidable because of a lack of support from the company’s principal partners, and it was with regret that the drivers were being let go.

Lacroix says drivers knew the company was in financial difficulty, but thought there was more time to try to save it.

WATCH BELOW: Alexandre Taillefer, the visionary with a strong social conscience

The environmentally-friendly taxi service was a venture by entrepreneur Alexandre Taillefer.

It got its start in 2015 with a $250 million investment led by venture capital firm XPND Capital, where he is the managing director.

Taillefer is reported to no longer be involved in operations or management at Teo Taxi.

READ MORE: Meet Alexandre Taillefer, the visionary with a strong social conscience

It promised free Wi-Fi to customers and a $15 hourly wage to its drivers.

Reports last week said Taxelco was preparing to seek protection from its creditors as part of major restructuring. Neither Taxelco nor its shareholders commented at the time.

Teo’s fleet includes Kia Soul, Nissan Leaf and Tesla — all electric cars. Teo Taxi is owned by Taxelco, which also owns Diamond Taxi and Hochelaga Taxi.

— with files from The Canadian Press.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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