How could truck stops improve their service and facilities?
April 1, 2007
WOODSTOCK, Ont. - When you're a hungry truck driver out on the job, satisfying your appetite isn't quite as easy as pulling up to a McDonald's drive-thru. Dragging around thousands of pounds of freigh...
WOODSTOCK, Ont. – When you’re a hungry truck driver out on the job, satisfying your appetite isn’t quite as easy as pulling up to a McDonald’s drive-thru. Dragging around thousands of pounds of freight in a cumbersome 53-foot trailer typically limits a truck driver’s meal choice to whatever they can find at truck stops. With truckers also doing the vast majority of their fuelling, showering, sleeping and general relaxing at truck stops, it’s important that the truck stop and its staff make the process as pleasant as possible. The TA Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. is currently doing its part, as it boasts a new driver’s lounge courtesy of NAL Path Insurance Brokers, which comes complete with satellite TV, free Internet access and leather seating (see pg.26 for the full story). But not all truck stops come equipped with these creature comforts. Truck News stopped by the TA Truck Stop to ask drivers what truck stops should be doing to improve their service and facilities for truckers.
Vic Bailey, a driver with Mas Transport, based out of Woodstock, Ont., says truck stops need to get away from their habit of serving fast food instead of restaurant-style dining. “It’s all Burger King and McDonald’s and crap like that,” Bailey says.
Bailey also thinks that a little bit of clean-up is in order with many truck stops, especially those in the US.
“Though this one here is good, a lot of them are just pigsties,” he says.
In all, Bailey says there is a lack of truck stops in Canada, though the ones we have tend boast better food and cleaner facilities than those south of the border.
John Sears, a driver with Barco Materials Handling in Guelph, Ont., says that typically the amount of parking spots at truck stops is usually not enough to support the number of trucks present.
As well, Sears says truck stop patrons need to do their part to move their vehicles in winter so the lots can be properly plowed.
Evan Mason, a one-time trucker who recently stopped driving, says he thinks truck stops should be lowering the price of food for truckers. “It’s getting to be the point where $10 for a meal doesn’t go very far. These guys (truckers) don’t make that much money,” he says.
“You can go to a nice restaurant and buy a filet mignon for $20; eat at a truck stop and you’ll still end up paying $16 to $18 for a meal.”
Guy Morel, a driver with own truck company in Quebec, says cleanliness is often an issue with truck stops in the US.
The driver of 25 years also says more truck stops are needed, especially out east in the New England region.
Duane Gaskins, a driver with Panther Expedited Services in Seville, Ohio, says he would probably improve the driver’s lounges to be more like the one at the TA Truck Stop.
“Somewhere you can actually relax, seeing as we’re all train wrecks,” he says.
Prices are also tops on Gaskins list, noting that many truck stops will gouge you if they can get away with it.