Inflation disrupts the transport sector

By Cassandre Bailargeon

INFLATION. With the increase in the cost of living, which has an impact mainly on the price of gasoline and materials, transport, removals, taxis and public transport companies are seeing their daily lives change and sometimes have no option but to adapt their your prices.

“Inflation in our case, this naturally influences revenue, as the price of gasoline has practically doubled in the last 12 months”, says the owner of Taxi central Drummondville, Charles Lambert.

Unlike the transport and removal companies contacted by Expresso, customers are spared increasing costs as the Commission des transports du Québec (CTQ) has been establishing possible billing methods since 2018.

Through the taximeter (a combination of time and distance travelled), the odometer (the total distance travelled), the fixed price from one zone to another or even the duration of the trip, the cost of essence is not taken into account. Therefore, the account cannot be passed on to users.

“We hope [les barèmes du CTQ] are changing soon, but not yet, so apart from us as owners, both drivers and customers are not affected by inflation. This is good news for them,” says Mr. Lambert.

Impacts on city coffers

In the city of Drummondville, the rising cost of gasoline currently has no impact on public transport service. City Hall is effectively dealing with a subcontractor whose contract is currently fixed, regardless of the fuel increase.

The City of Drummondville is currently working on a project to review the provision of public transport services. (Photo: Archive)

As for city vehicles, the effect of inflation is clearly present. “Gasoline, we pay the market price. We can hypothetically speak of an impact of more or less US$ 500 thousand if the cost remains or increases until the end of the year”, says the director general of the city, Francis Adam.

a difficult profitability

For Déménagement St-Marcel’s owner, Éric Chenard, it’s getting difficult to do his job in the current conditions. “We are forced to raise our prices because of inflation, not just because of gasoline, everything is expensive, the cost of living, equipment, so we have no choice but to raise our prices. price,” he says.

The man who has run Déménagement St-Marcel for nearly 20 years now explains to his clients that if they want it to cost less, they need to prepare. “Customers and people have to take responsibility, if they want it to cost less, they have to prepare properly,” says Mr. Chenard.

For the quiet season, the company has increased its prices by $15 an hour since 2020. Despite this, profitability does not exist and the owner must plan a large number of moves to achieve this. “Going out for one play is not, but if we go out for 3-4 plays a day and all the teams go out, then we are profitable”, says Éric Chenard.

A primordial adaptation

As for the transport company Saint-Germain Express, the adaptation has been in order for several months. “We’ve tried for a while to minimize these costs, but we can’t absorb them indefinitely and now it’s up to companies to try to absorb them. We absorbed what we could absorb”, explains the company’s account manager, Réal Coderre. As of now, the increase of more than 30% in the price of gasoline “is directly reflected in the customer’s bills”.

The Saint-Germain-de-Grantham-based company is also struggling to acquire new trucks to augment and renew its fleet of more than 25 local and long-haul trucks. According to Réal Coderre, there is an average increase of more than 35%, as truck costs have increased from approximately US$150,000 to US$195,000.

“We are currently trying to adapt as best we can. Expenses are kept to a minimum. We continue to maintain our vehicles, but as new vehicles are hard to find, we are increasing maintenance time. Normally, a truck would be changed every 6-7 years, but it may have to be extended by 9 or 10 years,” illustrates Mr. coder.

He concludes that more and more companies will have to prioritize customers who pay according to terms. “If I can choose between two clients and I can’t serve both, I’ll take the one that pays me better between the two, it’s a matter of survival”, he reveals.

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