Hundreds of Montreal taxi drivers got together on Sunday to discuss the state of their industry and how they can save themselves from possible extinction.
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Three separate taxi drivers’ unions have agreed to merge under one banner to confront any possible changes to their jobs.
Taxi drivers’ class-action lawsuit against Quebec government gets green light
Montreal taxi drivers skeptical about promise of compensation
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“In the whole battle against Uber, we believe our fractured representation worked against us,” said Kamal Sabbah of the RPTM.
“Certain actors, like politicians, were playing the different associations against each other. We are stronger when we are united and speaking with one voice.”
The Regroupement des travailleurs autonomes métallos (RTAM) has absorbed the Regroupement des propriétaires de taxi de Montréal (RPTM) and the Association haïtienne des travailleurs du taxi (AHHT).
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“It’s a major change in the taxi industry,” longtime taxi driver Danny Attalah told Global News.
“It may be the end of the taxi as we know it so we’re trying to pull everyone together to face that.”
Quebec Transport Minister François Bonnardel had previously promised to reform the taxi business.
READ MORE: Montreal taxi drivers skeptical about promise of compensation
He has yet to explain what those changes could be, however he has mentioned ending the Uber pilot project, while implementing changes to modernize and create an impartial industry to promote innovation.
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Last October, a class-action lawsuit spearheaded by taxi drivers against the provincial government was given the go-ahead by Quebec Superior Court Judge Mark Peacock.
It could cost the province up to $1 billion over the loss of value of taxi permits, if the lawsuit is successful.
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Drivers believe amalgamating their associations will give them a more powerful voice in discussions with the transport minister.
They fear that if they don’t act now, the taxi permits that some bought for over $200,000 may soon be worthless.
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