MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Long-haul truck drivers face one challenge most people in other occupations don’t have to deal with – being away from family and friends for extended periods of time.
It’s a challenge that becomes all the more difficult when a wife’s birthday, a son’s baseball game or a daughter’s dance recital is missed because duty calls. But perhaps the worst thing of all is not being able to spend the holiday season with family and friends.
Truck News visited the Husky Truck Stop here to talk to drivers and see if they will be making it home for the holidays this year.
“I’m going to be home for Christmas this year,” said Francisco Raposo, a long-haul driver for FTI based in Dundas, Ont.
Raposo said that his company is good about things like home time and vacations, so it wasn’t tricky to get time off for the holidays.
Ian Faries, a driver for United Van Lines of Mississauga, Ont., said he is lucky because his company is a moving company and business tends to slow down during the holidays.
“Absolutely, I’ll be home for Christmas,” said Faries. “We’re on a rotating schedule with our company and I’ve actually been fortunate enough to be home for the holidays for the last three years.”
“I’m hoping and keeping my fingers crossed that I will get to be at home over the holidays,” said Conrad Ginter, a driver for McConnell Transport, who drives a dedicated run from New Brunswick to Toronto. “I had to ask for the vacation time and it will all depend on scheduling.”
Elderado Transport of Windsor, Ont. shuts down for two weeks over the holidays, said driver Vikas Rambani, who is happy he’ll be home with his family.
“There will be so many drivers out there that won’t get the time off and so I’m lucky that I get my holidays.”
“I do a lot of city driving so I’m home every night, but I should be getting some time off over the holiday season,” said Brar Gurdilbagh who drives for New Delta Transport of Brampton, Ont.
He said his boss is very good at looking after his drivers and helps them out whenever he can.
Charles Hoskins, a driver for UCan Universal in Etobicoke, Ont. will be spending four days over the holidays with his family in Brampton, Ont.
“There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, I’m going to take time off and I’m going to enjoy it,” he said.
No matter where a driver is across Canada or the U.S., company officials at Terranova Transport of Petitcodiac, N.B. guarantee their drivers will be home for the holidays.
“There is no forced dispatch over Christmas, and the drivers get to choose if they want to go out or not,” said Bob Morgan, who has driven for Terranova for 19 years and has been home for the holidays every year. “They will even fly you home first class for the holidays and then fly you back to your truck.”