Archive for the ‘all Drivers Together conferences’ Category

On Wednesday, December 14, 2011, the Office of Administrative Law
approved amendments to the Truck and Bus Regulation. The
amendments are effective immediately, with the first compliance
date being January 1, 2012. By that date, fleets with vehicles
having a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 26,000
pounds must do either of the following:
- Retrofit 1996-1999 model year engines with Air Resources Board
(ARB) verified particulate matter (PM) filters, OR
- Have 30 percent of the heavier vehicles in the fleet equipped
with a PM filter (either a retrofitted verified PM filter or an
original equipment PM filter installed on a 2007 or later
model-year vehicle).
There are no PM filter requirements for trucks with a GVWR of
between 14,000 and 26,001 pounds, or for small fleets (1 to 3
trucks).
Be advised that truck owners must report to ARB by January 31,
2012 to take advantage of the PM filter phase-in option or other
flexibility provisions in the regulation. Small fleets (1 to 3
trucks) with a GVWR greater than 14,000 pounds must also report
to delay compliance for their heavier trucks until January 1,
2014. The online reporting system and user guide are available
at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/onrdiesel/reportinginfo.htm.
In order to avoid potential enforcement action by ARB, fleets
that have not met the PM filter requirements by January 1, 2012
are strongly advised to make every effort to bring the fleet into
compliance as soon as possible.
Background
On December 11, 2008, the Board approved for adoption the Truck
and Bus regulation to control emissions from nearly all existing
diesel powered heavy-duty trucks and buses operating in
California. The regulation became effective under California law
on January 8, 2010. The regulation applies to diesel fueled
trucks and buses with a GVWR greater than 14,000 pounds that are
owned by private persons, including businesses, and by the
federal government. The regulation also applies to publicly and
privately owned school buses. Local and state government owned
diesel fueled trucks and non-school buses are already subject to
other ARB regulations. Reducing emissions from in-use trucks and
buses is necessary to meet federally imposed clean air standards
and to reduce the adverse health effects from truck and bus
pollution.
On December 17, 2010, the staff recommended amendments to the
regulation that were subsequently adopted by the Board on
September 19, 2011 and approved by the Office of Administrative
Law on December 14, 2011. The amended Truck and Bus Regulation
delays the initial requirement to phase-in installation of PM
filters by one year to January 1, 2012 and extends the time
before a vehicle equipped with a PM filter would have to have an
engine that meets 2010 model year emission standards. The
amendments also defer initial engine replacements for older
vehicles without PM filters for two years until January 1, 2015
at the earliest. Prior to 2020, replacements are limited only to
20 year old or older trucks that are not equipped with PM
filters. By January 1, 2023, most vehicles will need to be
equipped with an engine meeting 2010 model year emission
standards.

In October, the Air Resources Board (ARB) filed with the Office
of Administrative Law (OAL) final rule-making materials for the
following regulations: the In-Use On-Road Diesel Vehicle
Regulation (Truck and Bus Regulation), the Greenhouse Gas
Emission Reduction Regulation (Tractor-Trailer GHG Regulation),
the Off-Road Large Spark Ignition Engine Fleet Requirements (LSI
Fleet Regulation) and the Regulation for In-Use Off-Road Diesel
Fueled Fleets (Off-Road Regulation). OAL has until December to
approve the regulations and file them with the Secretary of
State.
The rulemaking documents are available for the truck regulations
at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/truckbus10/truckbus10.htm,
and for the off-road regulations at:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/offroadlsi10/offroadlsi10.htm.
Background
The Air Resources Board adopted a number of regulations that
require diesel engine owners to reduce their engine emissions.
These regulations are part of the State’s plan to meet federal
ambient air quality standards and to protect public health.
Between now and 2023, nearly all trucks and buses that operate in
California and have a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating
greater than 14,000 pounds must upgrade to reduce exhaust
emissions. Similar requirements will also become effective in
the next several years affecting owners and operators of certain
off-road equipment (including equipment used in construction,
industrial, and airport operations). To comply with these
requirements, fleet owners can upgrade existing engines by
installing particulate matter (PM) filter retrofits or other
Verified Diesel Emission Control Strategies (VDECS), or by
upgrading to cleaner engines.
In addition, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006
(AB 32) established requirements to achieve reductions of
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. AB 32 requires the Air Resources
Board (the Board or ARB) and other state agencies to adopt
regulations and other requirements that would reduce statewide
GHG emission levels to the equivalent of 1990 levels by 2020.
The Tractor-Trailer GHG rulemaking is one of 44 early action
measures identified by the Board and requires certain tractor and
trailer combinations to use low-rolling resistance tires and
aerodynamic technology.
For more information regarding these regulations please call
866-6DIESEL (866-634-3735) or go to:
http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/truckstop/truckstop.htm.

 

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.