Quebec taxi drivers say beefed-up compensation package far from enough

Quebec's transport minister is boosting the government's compensation package for taxi drivers who say it's far from enough.

François Bonnardel announced that compensation would rise from $500M to as much as $814M.

It would involve as much as $270M from a 90 cent per ride fee for the next five to six years, including trips in a taxi, Uber and similar passenger transport. That's up from the original 20 cents more per trip.

Bonnardel said this would cover the original cost of the taxi permit and not the current estimated value.

There's an additional $10M for particular needs and cases.

Taxi drivers say their permits have lost over a billion dollars in value since Uber arrived in Quebec.

The coalition representing 9000 permit holders and 12,000 drivers says the amount only represents 60% of the market value of the permits.

It also says the royalty fee system means drivers are paying for their own compensation.

"The minister's proposal means we'll have better funerals but will still kill the taxi industry to please Uber," said spokesman Abdallah Homsy in a statement.

The minister's Bill 17 aimed at deregulating the taxi industry includes getting rid of the costly red tape to drive a taxi, lowering administrative charges and allowing cabbies to charge variable rates.