VANCOUVER (CityNews) — Vancouver’s taxi industry is suffering under the ongoing pandemic with drivers saying they’re often walking away from 12-hour shifts with less than $100 in their pocket.
For 21 years, Satnam Jaswal has been a Vancouver Taxi driver weekdays, overnights and on weekends. But he says with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has been impacted severely.
“Honestly speaking, if you want to sit in the car you’re sitting for an hour, half-hour. If you’re lucky, you get a $5 trip.”
He says it’s turning the once-thriving city into a relative ghost town.
“It’s not even worth it, hotels are dead, no tourism nothing so yeah, huge impact on our industry right now.”
Jaswal adds, a bad situation was made worse last month when B.C.’s Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry ordered liquor sales in all bars, pubs, and restaurants to cease at 10 p.m.
“After 10:00 people hang around until maybe 11:00 but then 11:30, 12:00 it is totally dead out there.”
Mohan Kang with the B.C. Taxi association agrees with Jaswal and feels the industry is being hit from every angle.
“COVID-19 has brought the industry right to the ground when you look at airlines, YVR, at one point only four per cent of customers went through YVR, and tourism, that’s the biggest factor for every business including the taxis, it is not there,” Kang says.
Ridesharing taking hit too
Drivers in the UBER YVR Driver Network Facebook page are also raising concerns over the extreme lack of income currently in the industry.
“Now Uber is almost minimum wage after paying gas tax and maintenance in Vancouver, not worth it now,” one person writes.
“What’s the point of driving Uber? Why not do something like security if we want minimum wage? Why ruin our car? Get strangers in our personal cars?” another person’s post reads.
Jaswal hopes a rebound is coming, and potential customers will be open to hailing a cab or grabbing a rideshare in the near future.
“If you want to travel taxi is pretty safe, and we are local. So please support local and take a taxi,” Jaswal says.