NEWS

Taxi strike to hit Montreal's Trudeau airport

11/12/2014 09:16 EST | Updated 01/12/2015 05:59 EST
It could be difficult getting a taxi at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport over the lunch hour as more than 300 taxi drivers who work at the airport will be withholding their services today in a protest against how their permit system works.

The drivers plan on taking an extended lunch break from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. 

Montreal taxi drivers need a special permit to work at the airport, and they say it's getting increasingly difficult to obtain one of those coveted permits through the taxi bureau's lottery system.

Protest organizer Stanley Bastien said the airport authority, Aéroports de Montréal, gave the responsibility to handle the permits to the city's taxi bureau in 2009.

He says the system has been a plagued with problems since.

"For the last five years we've been having a lot of issues, having to (hire) a lawyer every day, every year," Bastien told CBC's Daybreak.

"They're losing their permit [for] the airport because they didn't receive the letter [saying they received a permit]," said Bastien.

Inspection system too rigorous

Bastien said once drivers address issues in their cars from a first inspection, inspectors will often find more problems during a follow-up inspection.

A driver can risk losing the airport permit as a result.

AéroportsdeMontréal spokeswoman ChristianeBeaulieu said none of the rules has changed, and she doesn't understand why the cab drivers are taking this step.

"We think that the cab drivers serving the airport are doing a good job and I don't see why for a few letters for a few people [they're doing this]," Beaulieu said.  It's taking the passengers hostage."

She said the airport is working on a plan and will do whatever it can to help arriving passengers get where they want to go.

The cab drivers say they will block taxi operators who do not have airport permits from picking up fares during the protest.

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