CANADA Rising gas prices could mean fewer taxis and deliveries...

Rising gas prices could mean fewer taxis and deliveries on Toronto’s roads.


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Taxi near Union Station in downtown Toronto. Rising gas prices are having a significant impact on those who drive for a living. (Farra Merali/CBC)

As gas prices continue to hover around $2 a litre, the pain is keenly felt by those who drive for a living. They say gas station prices are now cutting into their profits.

Taxi drivers and drivers working on taxi or food delivery apps are responsible for paying for their own gas, a cost that has skyrocketed over the past year. Last June, the average retail gas price in Toronto, according to Statistics Canadacost $1.33 per litre.

“It costs us almost… 100% more,” Ali Pourhashem, a taxi driver near Toronto’s Union Station, said Wednesday.

One taxi company confirmed to CBC News that it has significantly fewer vehicles on the road compared to 2019. Although the company says this can be attributed to several factors, the increase in the cost of gasoline is not bringing drivers back.

App drivers and delivery workers say that despite companies like Uber offering drivers a 35 cent or 50 cent fuel surcharge per ride, it does little to cover their rising costs and some are now considering leaving work behind. .

It’s hard to go on

While the pandemic has hit the taxi industry, business has returned, with concerts, sports and other city events resuming. The problem is that drivers now pay more for gas.

“We have to pay for this because we need gas for our business,” said Purhashem, a 26-year-old taxi driver who says he would like help from the city.

The demand for taxis has risen again with the return of sporting events, concerts and festivals, but there are fewer taxis than before the pandemic. (John Rieti/CBC)

Mohammed Bhuyan estimates the cost of refilling his tank at $60. He says the amount has now doubled to $120.

Over the past few years, he says, he has watched his fellow drivers go out of business.

“Most of them—they’ve already left,” Bhuyan said.

Beck Taxi operations manager Christine Hubbard says drivers are just trying to get back from the impact of the pandemic and gas prices aren’t helping them.

“Drivers just don’t work the way they used to, and you can’t blame them,” Hubbard said.

“The monthly difference is hundreds of dollars, and it’s very important.”

Hubbard says there were about 1,800 cars on the roads before the pandemic. That number, she says, is now approaching 1,100. She believes the decline is due to a number of reasons, including how difficult it is for taxi drivers to get insurance and how expensive it is. But rising gas prices are another deterrent.

Christine Hubbard is Operations Manager for Beck Taxi. (Farra Merali/CBC)

“It’s getting harder for them to continue. And we’ll see here what… what.”

Bryce Sofer, who delivers meals for Uber and is vice president of Gig Workers United, says many drivers are wondering if they should continue working in their profession.

The union pushed for companies like Uber to recognize them as employees rather than independent contractors.

Sofer delivers by bike, but says the rising cost of gas is pushing some of his fellow drivers to breaking point.

“With the cost of everything going up… I see people getting stressed out. I see people wondering if they can afford to properly feed their families.”

“In terms of drivers, the vast majority of them are newcomers to Canada who are in a more precarious position than many other people.”

Many drivers say the gas surcharge introduced by companies like Uber does little to offset the fact that they pay significantly more to refill their gas tanks. (Carlos Osorio/CBC)

Houston Gonsalves, delivery driver for SkipTheDishes, says he’s been noticing gas prices going up lately.

“It’s hard to work in these conditions, knowing that sometimes I need one to three days to cover the gas money.”

– It’s getting a little scary.

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