TSQ: How do you feel about the expansion of Ontario’s LCV program?

by Adam Ledlow

BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – Ontario’s Long Combination Vehicle (LCV) program has gotten even longer, with the provincial government doubling the number of carriers that can participate. Starting in March, the program expansion has seen as many as 160 LCVs from 80 carriers gracing the province’s highways.

Each carrier is still limited to just two permits, which has caused some grumbling among fleets who helped pioneer the program, but will there be any grumbling from other drivers when more Twin-53s hit the road? Truck News went to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to find out what drivers think about the program and its continued expansion.

Mike Brosseau, a driver with Kemira Water Solutions out of Verdan, Que., says the LCV program is a good idea since there aren’t enough new drivers taking the place of retiring drivers. “We don’t have any drivers from the new generatio; we don’t have any drivers left. It will be my turn soon to take my retirement, so maybe another two years on the road and then maybe I’ll quit,” says the 35-year veteran.

However, Brosseau notes, if the program is going to take off, carriers have to be willing to pay a higher rate for LCV operators.

“The pay is not good for (the LCV program in Quebec). Around the Montreal area, they pay 35-40 cents for one (53-ft. trailer) and they give you three cents more per mile for the second one. I am not interested to work for an extra three cents to pull another one at 90 km/h; it’s too slow,” says Brosseau, who has a licence to operate LCVs, though he hasn’t used it.

Will Johnston, a driver with Laidlaw Carriers out of Woodstock, Ont., says he’s had no problem sharing the road with Twin-53s since the program started, but would like to see a couple changes made. “They have pretty tight regulations on horsepower and safety, so they are not blowing up hills or nothing there,” he says. “As far as expanding it, I wish they would put tighter regulations on and make sure that senior drivers are behind the wheel and not new drivers.”

In terms of a threat to job security, Johnston calls the LCV program a “fad,” noting that with the “cutthroat” competition present in dry van these days, “it’s just another thing, really.”

Neil Candler, a driver with Electro out of Trenton, Ont., says the LCV program is “killing the industry” by “taking a man’s work away.”

“You are taking what could be two loads of freight out of Toronto to Montreal down to one guy. Like it’s not hard enough to make a living out here,” he told Truck News. “You don’t see a lot of these smaller carriers doing it; it’s all the big corporations doing it, and they will continue to do it. They are in competition with the rails, so they are going to have to do that. I do not agree with it.”

Philip Goinz, a driver with Averitt Express out of Louisville, Ky., makes a dedicated run to Ontario once a week and has seen several LCV configurations during his time in the province. He says that finding adequate parking is a big enough issue when hauling one trailer and that doubling up only exacerbates the problem.

“When they get somewhere, they have nowhere to park because they are too long; there are no parking places in the new service plazas that they built,” he says, noting that LCVs can also cause traffic snarls because they take so long for a typical tractor-trailer to pass.

“If you double the number that are on the roads, you are going to double the problems, that is the way I look at it.”

– Have an idea in mind for a future Truck Stop Question topic? Send a message via Twitter to @adamledlow or e-mail adam@transportationmedia.ca.

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