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Let’s hope retailer has trucker’s needs in mind

As this issue of Truck News was being put to bed (kicking and screaming as it was), news broke that Canadian Tire had won a deal to be the fuel provider and convenience store operator for all of Ontar...




As this issue of Truck News was being put to bed (kicking and screaming as it was), news broke that Canadian Tire had won a deal to be the fuel provider and convenience store operator for all of Ontario’s 23 service centres along the 400-series highways.

You know, those service centres the province has been shutting down in bunches with cement barriers in many cases erected to keep weary truckers from pulling off for some much-needed rest?

Canadian Tire? Not exactly a chain that’s synonymous with serving truckers. Sure, maybe with their DIY projects around the house on those rare weekends at home, but certainly not as a major commercial cardlock operator.

One one hand, it’s refreshing to see a Canadian company won the contract and it’ll be good for the Canadian Tire money collections, but by the same token the announcement has left me wondering if truckers’ needs even factored into the decision?

Details at this point are scarce. Rest assured, we are working on obtaining them and will have a more complete report on the implications for truckers in the next issue.

I just hope there’ll be ample truck parking and the fueling stations will be trucker-friendly. Who knows? Maybe Canadian Tire can set a new standard for trucker-friendly fueling stations in Ontario. It wouldn’t be difficult. Here are just a few suggestions I received in a recent e-mail from a frustrated driver:

For starters, they could provide truck-sized squeegies with long handles and fresh windshield washer fluid. Free air for tires would be a nice feature. We all know how important maintaining proper tire pressure is for fuel economy (and hence the environment) and safety too. Put the air someplace trucks can access it.

A properly-maintained parking lot would be nice as well, with potholes filled in a timely manner and pools of grease and oil cleaned up regularly.

When you consider the cost of a fill-up for a semi, they should be treated like the Kings and Queens of the Highway that they are when they come rolling into these fuel stations.

These provincially-owned service centres are vital to the Ontario trucking industry. Truck stop parking spaces fill up quickly and there are few other trucker-friendly places to park along Ontario’s most well-travelled trucking corridors.

Truckers were rightly angered when the province pulled the rug out from under them and began closing these service centres en-masse in a poorly-planned revitalization initiative.

There’s an op-portunity here for redemption, but the devil is still in the details and it’ll be some time before we know how serious the province was in making these service centres trucker-friendly.

-James Menzies can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6896 or by e-mail at jmenzies@trucknews.com.

You can also follow him on Twitter at Twitter.com/JamesMenzies.


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