Closed rest stops making road life difficult for truck drivers
CALGARY -- Fully operational rest stops are becoming more and more scarce for long-haul truck drivers, who say finding places to wash up and have a meal is getting more and more difficult.
"It's affecting our work too. Every time we go home we have to change in the garage, take our clothes off, be mindful of what we do when we go home," said one trucker at the Husky Car/Truck Stop in northeast Calgary on Sunday..
Drivers across the country have complained that restaurants are closed at most truck stops and staff won’t allow them in to use the washroom due to fear of spreading coronavirus.
Other truckers have said drive-thru restaurants will not accept them walking up without a vehicle.
"They don't open the window because we can’t open the window for a person, you have to have a car, so how are we supposed to go through with this big rig?" said a frustrated driver at the Husky truck stop.
McDonalds announced earlier this week it was offering curb-side services to truckers through their app.
Rest stop database
However, Annie Hudson is a trucker on a 36-hour rest in Calgary, who said comes prepared with her own coffee maker, food and other essentials in her truck, only relying on washrooms at rest stops.
"I personally have not experienced any shutdowns of any kind on my trip these last few weeks," said Hudson.
"I came from the U.S. side and our company deals with the Loves (Travel Stops), and I have to say I appreciate we have sparkling clean truck stops now, which puts a grin on your face."
The U.S./Canada border was closed to all non-essential travel nearly two weeks ago due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Truck drivers were exempt, as they are needed to deliver goods.
Rest stops closed due to theft
A spokesperson from Alberta Transportation told CTV News the restrooms at several facilities across the province were closed due to vandalism, and theft of toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
“To ensure the health and safety of the public and highway maintenance crews, Alberta Transportation temporarily closed these facilities to conduct necessary maintenance and repairs. All highway safety rest areas in the province, with the exception of one, have now reopened," the spokesperson said.
The rest rooms are being monitored and cleaned on a regular basis to ensure adequate supplies.
"Keeping these washrooms open is a priority as the trucking industry and the movement of goods is crucially important," Alberta Transportation said.
The Alberta Motor Transportation Association has updated its website with a new rest stop database for drivers to find out where they can stop for essential services. Alberta Transportation said truckers are encouraged to carry their own toilet paper and hand sanitizer in case facilities are out.
In Calgary, three truck stop locations are open.
- Flying J Deerfoot — 11511 40th St. S.E.
- Husky Travel Centre — 2525 32nd Ave. N.E.
- Sandman Calgary Airport —25 Hopewell Way N.E.