Montreal off the menu as Uber launches food delivery service

​Montreal is unlikely to be on the menu for Uber's new food delivery service any time soon, with the Canadian city seizing 40 cars in a crackdown against the company's UberX budget ride-share service.

Ride-sharing app developer Uber officially launched its UberEats service this week in Barcelona and Los Angeles -- the two cities where it has been trialling the food delivery service -- and two new cities, Chicago and New York City.

Rather than picking up passengers, the new service sees Uber drivers pick up takeaway restaurant fare and deliver it to Uber users.

"Starting this week, the on-demand meal delivery service that piloted in LA and Barcelona will launch in Chicago and New York City. Now people with the Uber app in all four cities can get food from the most popular, iconic restaurants delivered within minutes," the company's Chicago operations said on Tuesday.

However, the launch of the new service has been tarnished somewhat by the crackdown on Uber drivers north of the Canadian border in Montreal for engaging in "illegal transportation" since March, according to a report by the Montreal Gazette.

Authorities reportedly seized 40 cars and fined their drivers as part of a plan to crack down on the use of UberX in the city, where it contravenes local public transport regulations.

Transport Minister Robert Poëti said that Quebec supports the crackdown, which saw the Montreal Taxi Bureau issue drivers with fines of CA$500 ($415) and call on the police to impound the cars.

"I support them totally. It's very clearly illegal transportation. These people don't pay for [taxi] permits. It's unfair competition," said Poëti, according to the Montreal Gazette.

Montreal is the latest city to get tough on Uber drivers, with the authorities in many of the regions around the world in which the company operates also making moves to penalise drivers for operating outside of the existing laws and regulations in those areas.

In Perth, legal action is being taken against Uber itself for not having the right licence to operate in Western Australia.

The state's Transport Minister Dean Nalder said earlier this month that the government had filed the first prosecution "to do with UberX and ride sharing without having a licence".

In January, Uber drivers in New South Wales faced the threat of court, with the state's Roads and Maritime Services issuing court attendance notifications to drivers within the company's Sydney footprint.