I've written quite favourably about Ontario's LCV program and in doing so, I've invited some criticism from drivers and engaged in some lively debates. As I see it, drivers stand to benefit from the p...
I’ve written quite favourably about Ontario’s LCV program and in doing so, I’ve invited some criticism from drivers and engaged in some lively debates. As I see it, drivers stand to benefit from the program. Carriers have told me they pay 20-30% per-mile premiums for LCV drivers. Here’s an opportunity to take the training, get certified, enhance your value and make more money. For the motivated driver, what’s not to like about that? If only it were so simple.
In talking to several LCV-certified drivers, it seems there’s a significant discrepancy between what carriers say they pay their LCV drivers and what those drivers are actually making.
One such driver, Kassie Gibner, shares her experience: “Although it’s quite the experience to pull the LCVs, and the money that’s saved and made for the company is sizeable, typically it only pays three cents a mile more than running a single. Not even remotely worth it as a driver to take on the added responsibilities and extra work, only to be under such incredible scrutiny by everyone from the companies themselves to the OTA to the public.”
Worse yet, she tells me she’s at risk of losing her job because she’s the only LCV-certified driver at her company and she’s no longer willing to pull doubles for a measly three cents a mile extra. Jumping to another carrier that pays better may be an attractive option, but it’s now clear why a clause was cleverly tucked into the regulations that makes the LCV certification non-transferrable. She’d have to re-certify if she moved to another fleet.
At any rate, she’s not the only one who has told me the extra pay isn’t worth the added responsibility and scrutiny. Many drivers say that even with a small per-mile premium, pulling LCVs is a losing proposition when you factor in the reduced speed and extra time spent hooking up and inspecting equipment.
So where are the savings going and why aren’t drivers getting their fair share?
Some drivers tell me the big carriers are lining their pockets with the efficiencies afforded by pulling Twin- 53s. I don’t buy that. I see very few carriers getting rich running LCVs. My suspicion is that the vast majority of the savings are being passed onto the shipper. But why?
Eric Gignac of Groupe Guilbault perhaps said it best at last year’s OTA convention: “Why should we give the savings to the customer? That’s what I’m hearing in Ontario and that scares me a lot. You need a shipper who gives you two truckloads at the same time at the same place with the same appointment time with equal weight. If you have that in Ontario, you’re lucky. We don’t have that in Quebec. You have savings but you also have extra costs – permits, paying more for the driver…”
Damn straight. As an observer, I see quite clearly there’s something fundamentally wrong with this picture. More than anything else, the success of the Ontario LCV program hinges on the professionalism and abilities of the drivers. They are being touted as the elite, the cream of the crop. So treat them like they’re elite and pay them like they’re elite. Otherwise, there’s a very real possibility this program will fall flat.
In closing, if you’re the manager of a fleet that is participating in the LCV program and pay your LCV-certified drivers fairly, go ahead and tout your LCV pay packages by commenting on my recent blog on this subject at Trucknews.com. Consider it a free ad on me (just don’t tell Kathy). Perhaps it’ll put some pressure on the others. In all seriousness, let’s get some dialogue going. Fleet managers, what do you pay your LCV drivers? Drivers, what are you being offered to pull Twin-53s? n