Canadians Using Cabs to Avoid Quarantine Restrictions

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

With Ontario embracing some of the strictest lockdown restrictions in the West and giving the police force carte blanche when it comes to enforcing public health, many Canadians have told us they’re not exactly enthralled with the idea of notifying their government that they’ve been out of the country. This is doubly true if they’ve just flown in by plane because the nation now requires a few days’ stay in a hotel as part of its mandatory 14-day quarantine for those traveling by air.

Due to the added time, cost, and general hassle of booking yourself into a hotel for 3 nights — awaiting the results of a mandatory COVID test before you’re technically allowed to go home to continue self-isolation — some travelers have opted to utilize ground transportation for the explicit purpose of avoiding restrictions. Rather than flying all the way into the Great White North, Canadians are flying into neighboring American airports and then hailing a taxi that will take them across the border.

Reuters had the cost breakdown, estimating that the average cost of hiring a car to get into Canada from the U.S. border is somewhere around $250. While the estimate on the 3-day hotel stay was a lofty $1,000, even a few nights at one of those fleabag joints will easily surpass whatever it’s going to cost you to just drive (or be driven) home. Another consideration is that those coming in by plane who do end up testing positive for COVID will be ultimately moved to a government-appointed facility and isolated for the duration of the illness.

Numerous cab and limo companies told the outlet that the situation had created an upswing in business near the border. New York has undoubtedly seen the most action, though it’s hardly the only area seeing a surge of activity. Similar trends have been noticed in just about any area where there’s a lot of cross-country commerce, including examples of people stopping at the border to walk across before booking another ride for the rest of the trip home.

From Reuters:

Non-commercial land border crossings were 60 [percent] higher during one week at the end of March and beginning of April than in the same week in 2020, according to data from the Canada Border Services Agency. Air travel for that same week, meanwhile, increased 18.8 [percent].

The discrepancy between the rules at the land border and by air is a sore point for Canada’s hard-hit carriers.

Unlike land travelers who can choose where to quarantine, air passengers who test positive at a hotel must self-isolate at a government-mandated facility.

According to Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) data for Feb. 22 through March 25, 1.5 [percent] of air passengers to the country tested positive for the virus on arrival compared with 0.3 [percent] of land travelers.

As you might have expected, the knowledge that there are people crossing the border without being subject to the same rigid screening that air travelers receive has left some Canadians demanding tighter rules for ground transport — including Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Premier of Quebec François Legault. Assuming restrictions are enhanced, expect them to be limited to popular border crossings and places where the rules could be more easily enforced (e.g. bridges).

[Image: Cameris/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • CKNSLS Sierra SLT CKNSLS Sierra SLT on Apr 26, 2021

    As I stated on another thread-When the government pays for your healthcare, they get to make the rules. If they didn't have these rules/restrictions, COVID positive cases could multiple exponentially. Then increase costs for the government-and that could be passed on to even more taxes for Canadians. BTW-Canadians are experts (especially if they live by the U.S. border) of finding ways to get around their country's outrageous taxation. Those taxes of course pays for their healthcare. The article illustrates what exactly they will do to figure work-arounds.

    • See 1 previous
    • CKNSLS Sierra SLT CKNSLS Sierra SLT on Apr 26, 2021

      MoDo- Did you read my post? The Canadians DO NOT PAY THE FULL COST for their healthcare. My premium in the good old USA is $658.00/month (for only ME) with me paying all costs up to $6,600.00 This excludes two well visits a year and one Optometrist appointment a year. What do you pay?

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Apr 27, 2021

    Feel pretty good about voting for Aladdin now?

    • See 7 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Apr 28, 2021

      @PigIron - I'd post more in rebuttal but this site won't allow an explanation of the Canadian electoral process. You can't game electoral boundaries or stuff ballot boxes.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.