How will Canadian Tire perform running Ontario’s service centres?
June 1, 2010
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -The announcement that Canadian Tire will become fuel provider and convenience store operator for all of Ontario's 23 service centres along the 400-series highways has stirred up a v...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -The announcement that Canadian Tire will become fuel provider and convenience store operator for all of Ontario’s 23 service centres along the 400-series highways has stirred up a variety of reactions in the trucking industry.
Some have expressed confusion about the choice, while others remain cautiously optimistic that the retailer will keep truckers’ interests in mind. Others are simply pleased they’ll be able to collect Canadian Tire money at the locations. Harry Rudolfs, who once drove for Canadian Tire, explores the issue further in this month’s cover story, but for now, let’s head to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. and see what drivers there had to say.
Clyde Huycke, a driver with LMB Transport in Belleville, Ont., says that an organization as renowned as Canadian Tire will likely do well running the facilities. As for improvements that could be made to the service centres, Huycke suggests the availability of parts, tires and proper equipment to clean your truck.
In general, Huycke says, truckers just want the service centres back open to help lessen the disruptions of the past several months. “There’s a lot of dead time now; you have to pull off the road and just sit and wait until your appointment time because they won’t take you 15 minutes prior, and if you’re late by an hour they won’t take you at all,” he says.
Rob McLaughlin, an owner/operator with New Brunswick-based Belle Tran Limited, says the whole process of the ownership change will be a learning experience both for Canadian Tire and for truckers.
“The big fuel outlets now have a system in place. I’m not sure if Canadian Tire will be able to do that immediately or if it’s going to be a learning process,” he told Truck News. “We are to the point right now where we’re almost desperate for rest areas because of all the closures at once, so any news is welcome news, but I’m not so sure (how Canadian Tire will do) because I’m familiar with Canadian Tire as an old gas bar in New Brunswick for small vehicles, but not in the commercial traffic application.”
Ty Alexander, a driver based out of Trenton and Belleville, Ont., says he could care less who actually runs the new service centres so long as they get them up and running again.
“I have no idea what kind of job they are going to do. I think just as long as somebody gets the damn things up and running again, because I think it’s ridiculous that they’ve got them all closed down at the same time. It’s a real pain not having them there.”
As far as improvements are concerned, Alexander says bigger and more parking spaces for trucks would be ideal so there’s more room to maneuver “so it’s not so crowded that you’re sleeping on the highway.”
Paul Shandz, a driver of 34 years who works for an Ontario-based feed and supply company, says he’s lucky enough to not need to use the service centres much because of his schedule, but does have suggestions for improvement.
“I know before they shut them down there were quite a few of them that could have used a lot more parking space. There’s not nearly enough parking space for trucks in those service plazas and when they’re rebuilding them I don’t know if that’s going to be included in that or not, but that’s a big thing.”
Wayne Armstrong, a driver with Meyers Transport out of Belleville, Ont., says he thinks Canadian Tire will do a pretty good job. “They do a pretty good job with everything else they do,” he says. Armstrong says that most of the service centres he visits have just about everything you need, especially the presence of another renowned Canadian franchise -Tim Horton’s.
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