Taxi drivers want you to know that they are cleaning up their act in 2016

Taxi drivers have come under increasing heat from Uber and other ride-sharing services.
Taxi drivers have come under increasing heat from Uber and other ride-sharing services. Photo: iStock.

A new year usually triggers a slew of new laws.

Yesterday we wrote about a new law for Ontario drivers that dictates when they may resume driving after stopping at pedestrian and school crossings.

Today we bring you a new bylaw in Montreal, which requires that taxi drivers follow a strict dress code.

Male cab drivers have to wear black pants and white polo-style shirts or a white dress shirt.  Female cab drivers have the choice of wearing a black skirt and a white blouse. In the summertime, Bermuda shorts are allowed. However, all cab drivers must wear closed shoes and socks.

The dress code is probably one of the steps the city is taking to help the taxi industry’s attempts to compete with cheaper ride-sharing services such as Uber, Kangaride and more.

Taxi drivers have come under increasing heat from ride-sharing services so much so that many cab drivers have protested in cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal. Commuters were less than impressed with these protests, as they had the opposite intended effect of creating sympathy for the drivers.

Since protesting isn’t working for cab drivers, they are now instituting measures such as the dress code in Montreal and “The Ride” Canada-wide.

The Ride is a new mobile app tool that is set to compete with Uber. Just like with Uber a person has to create a personal profile and use their cell’s GPS to get a cab through the app. Unfortunately, unlike the Uber app, you will be charged a $2 fee by the app.

Is it the innovation and cheaper prices of these alternative ride-sharing services that is solely to blame for cab drivers losing clientele or is the cab industry overlooking other factors?

In Montreal consumer complaints against cab drivers have increased in recent years. In 2014 alone, the Montreal Taxi Bureau received 727 complaints against cab drivers, up from 604 complaints in 2013. The biggest complaint? Lack of courtesy by the drivers.

However, it does seem as if the taxi drivers may be starting to wake up to consumer needs. Toronto taxi drivers, for instance, have vowed to provide better customer service in 2016. Amongst those vows: maintaining a courteous and attentive attitude, accepting the first available customer – no matter where they need to go and accepting all forms of payment.

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