VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Truckers who haul between Canada and the US are finding it easier to locate food and washrooms while performing their long haul duties.
For weeks after the closure of restaurants, truckers complained of having no place to get a meal or to take a bathroom break.
Some were packing days worth of food and even buckets to relieve themselves in.
But things are starting to turn around, says Dave Earle of the BC Trucking Association.
“North of the border we have had some real successes with chains and other restaurants coming on board and recognizing the need for drivers to be able to stop, grab a bite to eat, wash their hands and face and go to the bathroom,” he notes.
With apps, drivers can now order their food ahead of time and be served as walk-ups at fast-food establishments such as McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and A&W.
“We’ve seen restaurants open their doors for drivers to use washrooms. That’s just for drivers – no other members of the public are allowed inside. We’ve been successful in getting some food trucks set up at different cardlock operations.”
However, he says truckers continue to face challenges south of the border, but he says at least there’s a recognition at truck stops and chains that truckers need to be served.
He says it’s ironic that it’s taken a pandemic to get the public to appreciate what truckers do.
“We’ve been an invisible industry for many years. And now finally in a crisis when we are relying long-term on the deliveries the drivers and companies make, I really think they’re beginning to be seen and valued.”
Meanwhile, the business is evolving to reduce any face-to-face contact for drivers. Earle says companies are adjusting the shipping and documentation process to minimize the amount of time drivers have to spend on paperwork.
Fortunately, the frenetic pace for truckers who cater to grocery stores has calmed down.
“After we got past the big hump of people stocking up in March, we have gotten back to normal,” says Earle.
But other sectors – like those involved in the shipping of medical supplies – are as busy as ever.