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Remi Lamarche of MS Taxi in Hawkesbury. The company is continuing to offer 24-hour service despite a dramatic drop in night-time calls. Photo by Reid Masson

Area taxi companies maintain services despite being hit hard by pandemic

Taxi companies in the region are continuing to offer regular service despite a major drop in business due to COVID-19 since March of 2020. And the second province-wide shutdown has been even tougher than the first.

“When the first wave arrived (business) was not too bad – we came through it pretty well,” says Remi Lamarche of MS Taxi in Hawkesbury. “But in the second wave it has been a lot quieter.”

The company has invested in extra sanitizing to protect customers – including masks for the drivers and regular cleaning of the taxi interiors – which has added to overall maintenance costs. MS Taxi continues to offer its regular 24-hour service, seven days a week, despite the fact late-night calls from party-goers are no longer coming in.

“We are still here and available 24 hours a day,” emphasizes Lamarche, who is also a driver with the company and says daytime busines remains “passable”. It is at night that things are dramatically slower. “Normally we have a lot of reservations at night when there are parties and other events. Right now there are none, but we are still offering the 24-hour service.”

In Alexandria, Levert Taxi’s contract with the Glengarry Memorial Hospital has helped the company get through what has been an extremely quiet past 10 months.

“It’s been pretty slow,” commented Don Mcdonald, manager of Levert Taxi. “One thing that has been good for us is we have the contract for the hospital. That’s what’s keeping us going.”

While it is no solace, MS Taxi’s Lamarche notes it is not just taxi companies in Hawkesbury which are experiencing difficulties. He says it is important for all local businesses to continue to support each other.

“Everyone is living through the same thing – there are a lot of businesses closed on Main Street – and I think it’s going to go on for a long time.”

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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