Warraich noted that it was difficult to try to make small changes to cover costs without causing more strain with customers already in cost shock.
“We are trying to increase the prices a little, but the customers are not happy. They always start arguing with us about it, some even get physically aggressive,” he added.
If the situation extends beyond the spring and summer, Warraich said his concern would increase. Drivers can sometimes switch off their vehicle while waiting for the next call, but in winter this changes quickly.
“We can’t stay in a cold car for long,” Warraich said. “And we have to run around looking for bargains in busy areas. You have to move all the time. »
He raised the question of some sort of government fare relief, to at least allow taxi companies and other businesses to cover the expenses.
As of May 2, the average regular gas price at Battlefords stations was 169.9 cents, while it is currently 167.9 cents at Meadow Lake. Viral Patel, owner of Mr. Taxi in Meadow Lake, said it took most of their profits.
“We drive so much in a small town, you don’t have the same rates,” he said. “The profit margin is very low, most of it goes to gas.”
Although they’ve avoided making major adjustments, Patel said they’re preparing for the possibility of big changes if this drags on and there’s no relief.
“Even a little helps, but if it doesn’t, we have to make sense of our hours,” he said. “We’ve already shorted them so we’re not 24 hours.”
This is one of the hardest parts for drivers to manage. Patel said it was difficult to explain the situation to customers.
“I hear customers say how expensive it is, but [unfortunately] it’s expensive for us too,” he said.
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Businesses that deliver food and other items face the same hurdle. Yvonne Von Grad, owner of City Convenience in Meadow Lake, said she has been dealing with rising costs for months.
“We started charging for deliveries and when we get our freight the costs also went up,” she said.
Asked if she had reached out to local politicians about industry concerns, Von Grad said she saw no benefit in doing so.
“What’s a deputy going to tell you, the price is going up and there’s nothing he can do about it?”
Going forward, she said they will continue to adapt where possible, but wonders when people will reach a breaking point.
“Things can only get so high before people can afford them,” Von Grad said. “And they also need to understand that we can’t absorb all the costs.”
“We’ll keep the prices as real as possible, but that’s what it is.”
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