The controversial ride-hailing company Uber has been in the press a lot recently, as the Mayor of London has refused to let the company continue operating in the city. However, it’s not just Britain where Uber is having problems – the firm is reportedly pulling out of the Canadian province of Quebec.
Last week, the region’s government announced new legislation that would bring Uber in line with traditional taxi operators. The regulations would force Uber drivers to undergo more stringent background checks, have their cars inspected every 12 months, and undergo 35 hours of training before they’re allowed behind the wheel.
Currently, Uber only requires drivers undertake 20 hours of training, and carries out background checks with a private security firm rather than the police.
Unless Quebec scraps the proposed legislation, Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, general manager of Uber Quebec, says the company will stop operating in the region by October 14.
Despite only being in Quebec as part of a one-year pilot scheme, Uber has racked up nearly a million users and employs 5,000 drivers each week. Many of these are part-time, leading to Uber’s outrage about the longer training hours required by the proposed plans.
“Can you imagine someone on Airbnb that is renting his apartment once, twice or three times a month, or three times a year?” Guillemette asked. “That person would not be required to take 35 hours of training. And it’s the same situation for these drivers, working for Uber.”
Not everyone was as angry as Uber, however. “I don’t care,” Denis Coderre, the mayor of Montreal, told news channel BNN. “Frankly we need to have some regulation, and if they threaten to leave I don’t care.”
Leaving Quebec could be a major blow to Uber, though it would not be as damaging as a final ban from London would be. Uber has appealed Transport for London’s decision, and is allowed to continue operating in the capital while the appeal is ongoing.