SASKATOON, Sask. — Trevor Yuise has been behind the wheel professionally for over 30 years, the last six of which have been as a car hauler for Jack Cooper Transport out of Saskatoon. But in the days of Covid-19, he is running into a unique problem when he completes deliveries to automotive dealerships.
“They don’t want to inspect my loads when I deliver,” he says.
“If there is any damage to the vehicle, if anything is missing like a key fob during that 48-hour period, it’s on me.”– Trevor Yuise
“I have to load the vehicles, so I have been inside them. They are worried I may be infected or have been exposed to Covid-19. They do have 48 hours to inspect the vehicles and they are wanting me to make my drops at night, giving them the time to inspect. If there is any damage to the vehicle, if anything is missing like a key fob during that 48-hour period, it’s on me.”
The challenges as a car hauler don’t end there, as Covid-19 spreads.
“Dealerships are closing down, car factories are closing and laying off. If there are no cars to haul, then there is no need for car haulers,” he says. “Our industry lives and dies by rail. If there are no cars coming by rail, there is nothing to haul by truck. I could be looking at a layoff within days.”
Yuise has personal expenses like everyone else. Recent promises of Covid-19-related financial relief from the federal government and the country’s six major banks should offer some relief.
“I can probably get by, but I will be looking for something else if the times comes when there are no cars to haul,” he says. “I have only been unemployed for a short time since I started driving. I will find something.”
For now, he’s still on the road.
One positive thing he’s noticed is that Canadians are looking at truck drivers in a different light.
“It seems they are getting a wakeup call on where things come from. I think, they used to take us for granted,” he says. “They went to the stores and the shelves were full. There was never a shortage. Now, there is, and they have started to think about where the stock comes from. The people who work 9-to-5, do not realize, truckers are out there day and night. It takes me three hours to load, then I drive until my E-log is spent.”
He was surprised when he was delivering in Northern Manitoba and was approached by a stranger who had heard information being relayed on CBC Radio about problems the truckers were facing.
A man walked up to my truck and offered to go and buy me a cup of coffee,” he said. “I sure did appreciate it. That’s never happened to me before.”
This is one in a series of articles describing truck driver experiences amid the fight against Covid-19.
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