Taxi drivers planning big protest Friday

Let's just say Friday is looking like a real good day to just stay home.

Along with the closure of major routes through the Turcot interchange, taxi drivers will be hitting the streets for the latest round in their fight against the CAQ government's Bill 17.

Cabbies from across the province are expected to gather in Montreal during the Friday morning rush.

"We're going to mobilize the entire province hopefully," said George Boussios, spokesperson for the taxi industry. "Get drivers and owners from all over the province to head down to the Transport Minister's office on René-Lévesque."

"Just plant ourselves there and do what demonstrators usually do."

On Monday members of the taxi industry spent the day in a meeting with officials from the Transport Ministry. They want the government to conduct a study on the impact its deregulation legislation.

However drivers left the meeting frustrated, arguing Transport Minister François Bonnardel refuses to hear their concerns.

"He needs to understand that he's affecting 22,000 lives. So if he can't hear two voices, or three voices sitting at a table in front of him, well hopefully we'll have two, three or four thousand voices screaming at him," Boussios said.

Bill 17 is part of the Quebec government's plan to overhaul the province's passenger transport industry. The proposed legislation would reduce the number of costly requirements for taxi drivers. It also includes a $500 million compensation package, for taxi permit holders who've seen the value of their permits plummet in recent years.