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Travels of a Trucker Waiting Period

April 22, 2012

Being a local driver sure has it;s ups and downs. As most of my readers are aware, I have switched to a local driving position in the last few months. But being a local driver isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. If you were not aware by now there are only two local trucks servicing a network of 40 highway trucks. The way it is supposed to work is this. We have a contract that was set up by Bison Transport. The highway drivers run the load straight through and the local drivers would deliver the load so that #1 the highways drivers were not out of hours and #2 the loads would not be late if a fresh set of eyeballs was delivering it. The problem as you can see is that 2 company local drivers trying to service 40 highway trucks just is not going to work. Eventually there is going to be a time when like most highway drivers they are going to be over the hours of service and at this point I am clearly confident enough to say that every load is delivered over a driver’s hours. Let’s start with the unload times. A driver leaves Calgary at 8pm. His/her first appointment time is set for 10:30am the next morning. So, being that the time is set beyond this drivers 14th hour of duty would already put him out of service. The Canadian hours of service rules are as follows;

Maximum driving time 13 hours.

No driving past 14th hour

Maximum on duty time 16 hours.

Thus a driver having driven from Calgary to Vancouver and delivering a load at 10:30am is out of service because once he has delivered his first appointment he legally cannot drive his truck past his 14th hour. Which is where we come in. But being only 2 of us there is not enough of me or the other driver to go around. Anyways, I’ll get to the point. Being the junior driver, The company had a breakdown on Vancouver Island. Apparently they could not find a rental. My truck being the junior driver was sent to Vancouver Island. One week went by and I was starting to worry about my pay. By the end of the 2nd week I was looking for other work. Sure the other driver would offer me the scrap times he didn’t want to work but it was only when he didn’t want to work. What made it worse was this guy was collecting OAS and CPP. He had a guaranteed income and I have a family to support and bills to pay. I would go to collect the few hours he would give to me and he would be literally boasting about how great his hours were. “Oh I worked the holiday and made $500 I am sure I can give you some work”. “Oh I got 90 hours in 2 weeks, here take a couple of hours” on my already day off. Yeah thanks bud!! “Oh I worked 13 hours yesterday”…well thanks. I didn’t work and I got Jack! By the end of the second week I was fuming mad. I was starting to ignore the company calls and would return after more than an hour or even later. I am not about to let myself be the left over shit worker. Then on Wednesday my truck was ready to be picked up. The dispatcher told me to call in around 8am. So I didn’t call. I went for an interview. I got a call from them later about 10:30 am asking why I didn’t call. Anyways, dispatcher was pissing me off and I told him point blank. “look, I don’t want to get into a pissing match. I didn’t call end of story, so don;t keep harping on me about it and let’s drop it”. What I felt like saying was…look, if you want a patsy go and hire one. There are hundreds of companies out there looking for good drivers and I don’t need to be sitting at home waiting for your call period.

So here is the kicker. Just recently I was delivering a load and the load I was delivering probably represents about 40% of the companies work of hauls we do from Alberta to BC. The work is being shifted into Regina which means less hauls from that company so the void needs to be fulfilled. This is going to happen in June. As it stands now, I don’t know what this company will do to fill in that void. That means my future again is uncertain as to how they will keep me busy. So that is my waiting period. From now to June to see how this company transitions itself with different work.

I can say with all honesty that I may just go back to finding a BC/AB job or looking for another local company to work for.

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