Canadians Rely on Taxis to Avoid Strict Quarantine Regulations While Going Home

If you’re a Canadian person planning to fly out of the country, you might find yourself relying on taxis in order to get home without breaking the bank. That’s because Canada is still implementing strict quarantine regulations as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. These regulations specifically target folks flying home from abroad.

According to Reuters, this involves staying in government-approved hotels for at least three days while waiting for a COVID-19 test. From there, these folks will have to wait a total of 14 days before being allowed to go home.

Why are Canadians sneaking across in taxis?

An image of a Taxi in New York City.
Taxi in NYC | Noam Galai via Getty Images

As you might imagine, Canadians are turning to taxis largely for economic reasons. As its stands, Reuters reports that all air travelers are required to spend a total of 14 under strict quarantine. However, the first three of those days are required to be spent in government-approved hotels. As a result, these travelers don’t have the ability to shop around for the best prices.

Reuters reports that it costs around $961 on average to stay in one of these hotels for three days. As a result, these passengers have to pay for their plane ticket, as well as this hotel stay.

However, some clever Canadians have found a loophole involving taxis. That’s because the strict quarantine regulation exclusively targets air travelers. As a result, if you drive across the border, you don’t have to quarantine at all. This is where the taxis come in.

Reuters reports that instead of flying home, these travelers instead fly into cities relatively close to the U.S.-Canada border and call a cab.

How much does it cost these Canadians to get home?

An image of an airplane parked at an airport.
Airplane | Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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While these Canadians are still stuck paying a plane ticket into a city like Buffalo, NY, they can get into taxis and go directly home. According to Reuters, this ride into Canada costs between $200-$250 on average. This is in contrast to the aforementioned $961 cost to stay at a hotel.

While the ethics of avoiding a mandatory quarantine are certainly debatable, a large portion of Canadians has begun to utilize this method. In fact, Reuters reports that non-commercial border crossings are up 60 percent compared with this same time last year. Additionally, air travel is up 18.8 percent as well.

According to Reuters, The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that between Feb. 22 to March 25, 1.5 percent of air travelers tested positive for the virus. In contrast, only 0.3 percent of land travelers did.

How have the taxi companies responded?

An image of a Taxi in New York City.
Taxi in NYC | Alexi Rosenfeld via Getty Images

As you might imagine, the companies behind these taxis are more than welcoming of these Canadians. According to Reuters, one company named 716 Limousine in Buffalo, NY, claimed it got so many requests that it can’t fulfill them all. This involves crossing the border constantly with non-stop passengers.

However, it seems this trend won’t last for long. According to Reuters, several government officials have begun to take notice and plan to strictly regulate Canada’s land borders as well.