toronto taxi delivery

Taxis in Toronto can be used for grocery and restaurant delivery too

Never has it been a better time to learn about the myriad curbside pick-up services available in Toronto, from DIY family taco kits to farm-fresh pantry boxes that hold an entire week's worth of cheese and produce.

Sure, you can have meals brought to your door, but delivery isn't always an option. Many restaurants — particularly those which are only just now doing take-out amid the COVID-19 lockdown — simply don't have the infrastructure in place.

Fortunately, cab drivers do — and they're more than happy to pick up and deliver parcels of any kind to the many of us city-dwellers who don't have cars.

"Anyone who has ordered groceries, prescriptions or takeout can have it delivered by taxi. This is a service that we’ve provided for decades at no cost to retailers/restaurants," wrote Beck Taxi operations manager Kristine Hubbard on Twitter earlier this week, reminding some and alerting others to the fact that this service exists.

"We can deliver parcels to anyone in need for a discounted flat rate," she wrote in another tweet. "Call us or use the 'parcel' feature of our app."

Toronto's CO-OP cabs will similarly pick up groceries ordered online and deliver them to your home at a flat rate, along with prescriptions, take-out and other types of parcels.

Drivers from both taxi companies will also pick things up from your place and deliver them, if requested, to another home, should you want to send supplies to friends or family members.

Taxi and ride-share companies are considered essential services by the provincial government, and are thus allowed to operate during the current state of emergency — but drivers for both nonetheless report steep declines in business amid a local spike in cases of COVID-19.

A spokesperson for The Taxi Association of Toronto told The Toronto Sun earlier this week that ridership is down almost 100 per cent in some parts of the city, thanks to the closures of entertainment facilities, the cancellations of all major events and the urging of public health officials for everyone to stay at home.

Along with fears for their livelihood, taxi drivers have been expressing concerns for their own safety and the safety of passengers as COVID-19 spreads.

CO-OP Cab assures on its website that employees and drivers are "utilizing personal protective equipment, such as wearing gloves and masks" and that "customers calling are asked screening questions to ensure transportation for all remains safe."

Any employees or customers who do not feel well are encouraged to stay home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health of everybody.

The City of Toronto is likewise asking all taxi and ride-share drivers to perform routine disinfections of their vehicles and "practice additional preventative measures while transporting passengers."

Uber confirmed by email that parcel delivery is not something the company currently does.

Lyft said similarly that it does not perform this type of delivery. Nonetheless, the rideshare company says it is working with local organizations in Canada to offer free or discounted ride credits to provide rides to seniors, caregivers and healthcare workers.  

Those looking for a safe, reliable way to pick up what they need without getting into a car can call one of the city's local taxi providers

"Beck Taxi is a local business supported by the success of other, smaller local businesses which are taxicabs," says Hubbard.

"If taxicab operators can't pay for our service, we can't pay the wages of 200+ people working in our dispatch and call centre. Like an ecosystem."

Lead photo by

Steven de Sousa

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