Montreal taxi company that challenged Uber with electric fleet halts operations

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.

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.

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.”