Calgary

Calgary cab companies are staring down a grim holiday season as revenues plummet

In a regular year, Calgary cab companies would be starting to prepare for the calendar turning to November and December — two of the busiest months in the taxi industry.

One cab company has more than halved their fleet, while another says revenue is down 60 per cent

The holiday season is among the busiest months of the year for cab drivers, but the pandemic has upended traditional projections in the industry. (Brian Burnett/CBC News)

In a regular year, Calgary cab companies would be starting to prepare for the calendar turning to November and December — two of the busiest months in the taxi industry.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, holiday parties are going to look a lot different — which means a lot less cabs are going to be called at the end of the night.

Kurt Enders, the president of Checker Transportation Group, is already seeing the impact.

"Normally by now we've got approximately 100 Christmas parties already banked for the upcoming two months," Enders said. "I think we're sitting around that two to five range right now."

Checker's fleet of 830 cars was cut to 300 at the beginning of the pandemic in March. 

And Enders' company isn't alone — Associated Cab owner Roger Richard said he cut his fleet in half from 1,200.

"The drivers are putting extra hours, they're grinding," he said.

"They're doing the best they can, and it's not pretty." 

Associated Cab owner Roger Richard said his company has reduced its fleet in half in response to reduced demand brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Richard has ran the company for 42 years. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has been the biggest challenge his business has ever faced.

Revenue has gone down 60 per cent from last year. 

As much as he would like to see a busy dispatch centre this holiday season, Richard said everyone in the taxi industry is doing their best to survive.

"We're all suffering together, the companies are suffering, the drivers are suffering," he said.

"Hopefully this will end and have some normal situation, hopefully by next summer."

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