Archive for the ‘all drivers together’ Category

 

After a brief hiatus, All Drivers Together has released a call schedule through December. Calls scheduled include TA/Petro’s VP Tom Liutkus and Joe Rajkovacz of OOIDA

TA/Petro will be returning for a third time to the conference line, Wednesday, November 16 at 2 PM Eastern time. Drivers are encouraged to call in, give feedback and hear what the truck stop chain has planned for the future. Tom Liutkus will be discussing future plans and giving updates from previous conversations. " TA is a full-service national travel center chain in the U.S., with 165 locations serving hundreds of thousands of professional drivers and other highway travelers each month – including virtually all major trucking fleets" according to their web site (www.tatravelcenters.com) Mr Liutkus reiterates with each call the importance of listening to the main customer, the driver.

With so many changes in the future, Joe Rajkovacz from Owner Operator Independent Driver Association will be with the group, Wednesday, December 7 at 6 PM Eastern time. Topics to be discussed will include Mexican Truck Program, Cell Phone Ban proposal, Hours of Service among others. OOIDA is an organization responsible for the representation of professional drivers, and with over 150,000 members, the organization has made huge gains in the industry and giving the drivers a voice in the courts and the government.

The group is currently working with several other groups and organizations to schedule calls. Those groups include CVSA, IdleAir, CSA, CA Air Resources Board and many others. Please check the facebook page (All Drivers Together) for updates.

All the calls will be recorded and will be about two hours in length. Drivers are encouraged to call in and listen to the presentations and ask questions of the speakers. Please dial 712 432 0075 access code 243977#

 

By Susan “Dawdles” Durstine

“Get you in and get you rolling” is the philosophy of the Pilot/Flying J Corporation, according to customer service supervisor Shane Bulloch. In an All Drivers Together conference call Wednesday September 28, Mr. Bulloch went on to explain that the company understands that if drivers are not rolling, they are not making money. He further explained Pilot/Flying J’s philosophy of “fast, friendly and clean” works in order to facilitate “drivers needs on the road, getting them through their daily travels” and providing DEF, showers and meals.

Over 30 drivers participated in the call and asked questions of various topics including parking issues, maintenance of the facility and lots, and spent several minutes directly speaking about the meal choices available at the locations. The Denny’s restaurants, he explained are privately owned franchises or company stores; none of which are owned by the travel center chain. They do, however, own the franchise rights to many of the fast food establishments in the locations. Pilot/Flying J does offer a wide variety of food options, Mr. Bulloch explained, but sit-down restaurants are not feasible for the corporation because of the profit margin available in fast food. McDonald’s is the only fast food establishment not franchised by the travel center. “If you see a McDonald’s, it is because it our only option,” he stated. The locations also offer the pizza and hot deli bar options for drivers, again with the idea of getting the driver in and out quickly.

While listening to drivers concerns, Mr. Bulloch did recognize the fact communication levels between the customer service department and the locations was in need of improvement as was the customer service level in the store. Currently, the new associates undergo computer based training when they are hired and they also undergo hospitality training. In an effort to train new hires, the corporation attempts to “give a store experience” but admits they have not thought of providing a “trucker experience” point of view. He also stated he would meet with the customer service representatives in order for them to better understand what drivers do and the things they experience on the road. In order to improve customer service at the corporate level, his department has grown from six representatives to 14, and has implemented new technology to improve the experience when drivers call.

During the hour and half conference call, Mr. Bulloch did note several improvements that the travel center chain has made and noted plans for the future. Such improvements include the new shower systems and improved shower experience, improved kiosk technology, reopening the Mystery Driver survey program, hot deli bars, Bulk DEF dispensers and they have recently begun to install pet friendly areas and have signed an agreement with Snap Fitness for the installation of fitness areas in select locations. They are also working on scan sensor technology that would allow a driver to purchase fuel without ever having to swipe a fuel card. Other plans for the future include “going back to focusing on the Pilots and focusing on the brands to make them stronger”, stated Mr. Bulloch.

Mr. Bulloch encouraged drivers to work with local management if they have a concern since so many issues seem to be site to site. If, after working with the local management, drivers choose to contact the corporate office, they can do so by calling 800-562-6210 and following the recorded prompts (Option 3 will connect the driver to a representative). Normal operating hours are 8am to 8pm Eastern Standard Time; however, a driver can leave a comment in a voice mail box after hours and will be contacted the following business day. Mr. Bulloch further stated the customer service department does have set protocol in dealing with driver’s issues, including conference calls with the management staff and the driver.

Pilot Flying J completed their merger June 30, 2010 and created a network of 550 travel centers throughout the country. Mr. Bulloch has been with the company for 12 years and has worked his way up to his current position starting his career at the store level.

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I am stopped at the Travel Center of America in Terrell, Texas.  I like to come here any time I have to hang out in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex area to get away from the city, and because they have concrete for a parking lot instead of asphalt. The air is cooler in the summer time with concrete.

I unloaded Wednesday  and might have stayed at the drivers in Anna, but the lure of the free showers and a restraunt I have been eating at for years drew me out here to Terrell.  I did enjoy the shower, and the wait staff and cooks at the restaurant are still doing a pretty good job of keeping the food from being boring.

Something new has appeared here, and I talked to the employee who services it.  In fact he said he had only installed it a few days ago, so I took pictures and made a small video. TCA has listened to pet owing truck drivers and at least in this location is beginning to crate a “pet area”.petarea1

I asked about plans and was told it will have fescue grass and that grass will be watered. I asked if he knew of any plans to put a chain link fence around it with gates so that drivers could take their pets off leash, but he did not think they were going to fence the area.  I didn’t ask if they had thought of bordering the grass area with shade trees, maybe they will think of it, after all if they are going to put in sprinklers for the grass they could get some crab apple trees pretty cheap around here.  Crab apple seems to be the shade tree of choice around Dallas.

Travel Centers of America Terrell, Tx

My hat is off to the management at TCA they have with this one little post and those plans to plant grass proven to every driver with a pet that they are listening.

 

Country Dan Rolling Along Thanks to Leland Martin and Truckers

I received this email today;

Hey Yoda, Here are some pictures of Country Dan getting his scooter donated by Darwin. I’ll send more when we are done. We are still working on getting the lift going for his car to haul it. He also got a chair donated to him so he can get around in his house. The scooter is too big to get around in his house. But he needs the scooter to get into work. There are some steep grades that the chair will not handle so we are glad he has the scooter! He has steep grades at his work place that he has to endure! There is also a steep grade at his driveway, so he really needs it to go down to get his mail too. I will write Darwin right now and tell him I sent you some pictures to post and that Country Dan really loves that scooter! I am also calling Landline and having them to give an update on the progress of helping Country Dan! Talk to you more soon. Thanks!
Leland Martin

Country Dan(Seated) and Leland Martin, showing off the new scooter that will help Country Dan get around!

The story of how a charity designed to work as a group of drivers helping other drivers got involved in this effort is not all that hard to explain. A driver that contacted the charity with his own needs, saw the original email Leland sent me asking for help getting Country Dan ( one of the personalities from the truckers channel on XM RADIO) a powered wheel chair so that he could go back to work. That driver had a chair that his mother had used. Both he and his mother met Country Dan at the Louisville truck show, and were fans. The rest thanks to the tireless efforts of Leland Martin is history now being made.
The community of truckers is alive and well. The community was kept alive or rebuilt by late night radio hosts and continued by XM open road and now Sirius Road Dog listeners. The next time someone says you cannot get 3 truck drivers to agree on anything or to work together, tell them about this story.

Country Dan really appreciates the new Ride!

As a side note, the request we posted from Leland Martin generated a second powered chair that will be stored in Cincinnati to be available to a driver who needs it. The St Christopher’s fund, the MERV, the medical supply company that donated new batteries for this chair, and several individuals and drivers not to mention the listener who donated the chair all came together to accomplish this. St Christopher’s fund will probably be the charity most likely to ask the chair to go to an individual who will need it because they are in the medical field. But the availability of it to them simply makes their efforts and all truckers interested in helping truckers efforts that much closer to meeting someone’s need. Who would have thought all these years later that listening to a radio show directed at truck drivers would have such good consequences?
Yoda

The Truckin Bozo’s Website

 

The newly formed group “Trucker’s United for Charities” will make their debut at the Great American Truck Show in Dallas, TX August 25 – 27, 2011.

We will be cooking Burgers & Brats in the parking lot, accompanied by entertainment supplied by fellow truck drivers & various other entertainers who will be appearing at or for venues within the show. There will also be donation jars at various vendors booths at the show.

Trucker’s United for Charities motto is: “Truckers & friends helping others, one mile at a time”. In keeping with this, all proceeds from our efforts will be donated to the Portland Children’s Hospital in Portland, OR in the name of one of our lost angels, Chance Rogers, who recently lost his battle with Cancer. Portland Children’s Hospital was the facility that treated Chance through much of his battle.

If you are unable to attend GATS, and would like to contribute to the Memorial fund, you may email TruckersUnitedForCharities@gmail.com. A reply will be sent to you with instructions for donations.

Joining in our efforts in the parking lot will be representatives of Joining in our efforts in the parking lot will be representatives of other charities working with us there to prove we all do work together for good.