01/29/2019 11:06 EST | Updated 01/29/2019 11:10 EST

Teo Taxi, Montreal's Electric Alternative To Uber, Abruptly Shuts Down

All of the company's 400 drivers received layoff notices this morning.

HuffPost Québec
Teo Taxi vehicles pictured in a handout from the company.

Montreal's Teo Taxi, which sought to take on Uber with a fleet of electric vehicles, has halted operations and laid off all its drivers, a union spokesman says.

The company's roughly 400 drivers received layoff notices early this morning from Taxelco, Teo's parent company. The company has called a news conference for later this morning.

Earlier on HuffPost: Uber is doubling down on delivery, starting with Canada. Story continues below.

Stephane Lacroix, communications director for the Teamsters, says drivers who showed up before their 4 a.m. shift were the first to learn the news. He says some were met by security guards and others by managers.

A company notice shared with media said a reorganization had become unavoidable because of a lack of support from the company's principal partners, and it was with regret that the drivers were being let go. Lacroix says drivers knew the company was in financial difficulty but thought there was more time to try to save it.

Earlier on HuffPost Canada:

Reports last week said Taxelco, founded by businessman Alexandre Taillefer, was preparing to seek protection from its creditors as part of major restructuring. Neither Taxelco nor its shareholders commented last week.

Taxelco's major shareholder is XPND Croissance, which is part of Taillefer's XPND Capital, a private equity firm. When it launched in 2015, the company said Teo Taxi would position Montreal as "a green, avant-garde city."