Saint Dorothée resident George Boussios believes Co-op Taxi deserves some competition. But according to Quebec law, they have a monopoly. Boussios is the president of Taxi Champlain. His company’s 350 drivers can take someone to Laval or bring someone into Montreal, but they are not permitted to stop and pick up a customer.
Boussios is confident and hopeful that law will soon change. “The population has tripled in Laval,” he said. “I have lived here for more than 20 years now. People are waiting up to 30 minutes for a cab now. They need more options.”
Boussios grew up in the Montreal borough of Outremont, known for having a large Hasidic community. His dad John drove a cab for years and eventually rose to become president of Taxi Champlain. George followed in his footsteps, first as a driver and now at the helm of this well-known company.
The Boussios family not only have many longtime friends from the Jewish community – they count on them as loyal customers. “All of our neighbours growing up were Jewish,” George says. “These were my friends. The Greeks and the Jews have always been very close. As a driver I was loyal to them. There was always a mutual trust between us.”
Boussios was therefore shocked and horrified by the images he saw on video of one of his own drivers physically assaulting a Jewish client. The latter gentleman had asked the driver to move his taxi in order to make room for another vehicle. According to a police report obtained by The Canadian Press, the alleged victim had taken a photo of the taxi’s licence plate and a vehicle number in order to identify him. He claims the driver began hurling anti-Semitic insults before getting out of the vehicle and punching him several times and choking him.
It was only days after the incident that Boussios and his team actually learned about it. “I came to the office and my staff told me what happened and that it had exploded on social media,” he said. “I advised them to shut him out of the system immediately and order him to surrender his equipment. They had already done so. I must tell you that we show a zero tolerance for any actions against our customers, be it rudeness, driving recklessly or not following the law. This act was unspeakable and shocking!”