Uber announced it is going to continue operating Canadian province of Quebec, despite threatening to leave the city rather than comply with local safety regulations.
The reversal, which was announced Friday, came after the appointment of a new transportation minister for the province, with Uber’s regional manager saying there is now as “an opportunity to establish a constructive dialogue aimed at finding a lasting solution for riders and drivers in Quebec.”
The rules that triggered Uber’s initial threat included requiring all drivers to undergo 35 hours of training and a criminal background check — similar to the standards required of taxi drivers there. Uber Quebec manager Jean-Nicolas Guillamette’s statement reiterated the company’s position that those regulations “would prevent us from operating in Quebec.” But he said said Uber will continue operating until the rules go into effect, while negotiating with the local government.
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According to the Montreal Gazette, however, new Quebecois transport minister Andre Fortin insists the regulations will not be reversed. New drivers will have eight weeks to comply, he said, while current drivers will have two years.
Uber has played hardball with cities for years in its fight against local regulation. That included leaving Austin just long enough to lobby the Texas legislature to void local rules Uber considered burdensome.
But the Quebec decision seems to reflect a more nuanced approach under the leadership of new Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who replaced pugnacious founder Travis Kalanick in late August. There were earlier signs of that shift in Khosrowshahi’s hat-in-hand approach to negotiating new rules for Uber in London.