Potential solutions were identified Thursday to “restore order” around the explosion in the number of illegal taxis at Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport, says Aéroports de Montréal (ADM), which salutes the government’s “sensitivity” . An analysis of the situation will be made “quickly”, promises Quebec.
This is at least what the airport organization argued after a meeting between its CEO Philippe Rainville and the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, in the afternoon.
“Discussions focused on potential solutions to curb the scourge of solicitation and restore order. The minister has expressed an openness to making the changes required to ensure the safety of passengers and authorized drivers,” said ADM spokesperson Eric Forest.
At the start of the day on Thursday, columnist Maxime Bergeron revealed that nearly 400 offenses have been recorded since January alone for the presence of these “illegal taxis”, whose drivers are sometimes harassing, or even seek to defraud the user by increasing the price arbitrarily.
On Twitter, the Minister of Transport, Geneviève Guilbault, had underlined in the wake of this column that the situation “is worrying”. By late afternoon, she called her interview with Mr. Rainville a “good meeting.” “We discussed the transport of people without supervision on the territory of the [airport] and the possible solutions. We agreed to analyze everything quickly and to speak to us again shortly to set the next step, ”raised the elected official.
One of the largest taxi groups in the metropolis is calling for immediate action, lamenting that it has simply “become too easy” to improvise an authorized driver and earn income from it. “It’s mushrooming, literally. It has become far too easy. Honestly, the government has opened up a jungle with all of this,” says Taxi Coop general manager Jean Fortier in an interview with La Presse.
For Jean Fortier, the situation has really changed since Quebec adopted in 2019 the Act respecting the remunerated transportation of persons by automobile. “Before, we knew how many people had a license in Montreal. It was legislated, that was clear. There, there is not even really an inventory anymore. Anyone can become a licensed driver,” he says.
The manager believes that it “may” be necessary to set up a new group of taxis to put pressure on the government. “There must be actions that are taken quickly. We can’t do much. Me, if I go over there and start checking, it’s chaos. It becomes very complicated to manage, ”insists Mr. Fortier.
In his eyes, a solution can easily be put in place. “We are talking about an acute situation in a particular place, with certain groupings. I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to come up with something. It’s about the government having a good ear, a good listener,” he adds.
At Tourisme Montreal, spokesperson Aurélie de Blois says her group is “very concerned” about the situation. “With summer upon us, there will be thousands of travelers flocking to the airport. This is a major security issue, and authorities are expected to take action quickly,” she said.
For the organization, it is a “reputational issue” for Montreal. “Welcome is the number one factor in returning a visitor to a destination. When you arrive in Montreal and you go through a traumatic experience, you will definitely tell your loved ones about it, ”underlines Ms. de Blois.
Tourisme Montréal calls on the authorities to “carry out tighter communication work” with visitors, in order to prevent them from being caught by illegal taxis. “We also hope that any regulations will ensure that we are able to intervene on the spot, possibly by issuing fines. The problem must be stemmed at the source,” concludes the spokesperson.
Recall that ADM’s demands are as follows: first, that the ban on solicitation that previously existed be reintroduced, that we can once again require that taxi drivers working at the airport be all accredited and, finally, that traffic controllers can act as soon as they observe the solicitation, and not just a transaction.
Without the help of Quebec, the organization says it is powerless in the face of the situation, among other things since the Bureau du taxi, which previously exercised close surveillance, ceased to exist four months ago. In an attempt to calm things down, ADM launched a poster campaign inside the terminal. She reminds travelers to always use well-marked taxis and Ubers, which continue to operate legitimately.