Friday, August 10, 2012

The Waiting Game

Trucking is definitely a hurry up and wait proposal.  It seems like every time you are running short on time to get home or pick up a load, someone needs you to wait.  Loading and unloading are the where this occurs the most.  The majority of shippers and receivers are only concerned with their time and schedules and driver's needs factor in not at all.  That is hard to deal with considering the regulations that limit how long you can drive in a given day and the demands of load and unloading appointments. The pressure is all on the driver, you are told you cannot be late for an appointment, show up on time, and then sit and wait well past that appointment  for a gate to even be opened for you so you can unload. Or you arrive early and sit and sit while nothing happens, your load sitting in the dock waiting for someone to get back from break or lunch to sign your paperwork, which ends up happening well after your appointment time.  Or you look at how a run is scheduled, see an issue and report it to dispatch, and no effort is made to correct the problem, it is all up to you to adjust.

All that would be easier to take if anyone spent half as much effort as you have to in order to make things work.  I don't expect shippers, receivers, dispatchers to jump every time I snap my fingers to make life easier for me, but there is generally no visible effort or even sympathy to ease this burden on the driver. Hell, fake concern would go a long way to cut down on driver resentment. Every where I go it is one of the main complaints I hear from drivers.

So, here I sit in Danville, Kentucky.  I was early for my appointment, the load was ready but the paperwork was not. As I wait to even back in the dock to be loaded my time allotted for driving ticks away. In a couple of hours I will not have enough time to get home before that time runs out. That means finding parking and taking a 10 hour break before I can drive home. This is my last load until Sunday and getting home Friday night is important because it allows me to reset my weekly driving hours and get a fresh start when I head for Massachusetts. Getting home late means less time for my break and a hard choice between starting late on Sunday and struggling to find parking late at night or starting early and rolling over my work hours each day struggling to make my appointments with restricted driving time. 

We will see what happens.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Looking for Chowdah

On the outskirts of Boston this evening, at a service area off I-95.  I deliver my load to the shipper in Bedford, MA at 10 am. Got here early just to be close and not to have to spend a bunch of time fighting traffic tomorrow morning. After being unloaded in Bedford I will take my way to Westborough, MA to pick up a load of cellophane film bound for Marion, NC. This is the first time I have been to the Boston area in the big truck. Like many big cities free parking can be hard to find. Sometimes you have to be creative. I squeezed in next to a couple of trucks at this service center's McDonald's drinking a water and using their free Wi-Fi.

I drove up I77 and I81 through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland to Carlisle, PA yesterday and then up I81, I84, and I90 through Pennsylvania , New York, Connecticut , and Massachusetts.  The company's route had me going through New Jersey and New York City on I78 and I95.  They will probably route me back through that way. I really do not want to deal with New York City traffic so I will likely head back the way I came, it is only 20 miles longer and will be faster without a doubt. The only traffic issues I ran into was stop and go on I90 in MA for about 10 miles due to an accident on the other side of the freeway and rubbernecking on my side. The accident was totally clear  when I went by but the amount of traffic going in and out of Boston led to residual slowness for hours after the accident itself.

I love driving through Pennsylvania and New York State on 81 and 84 it is very pretty and traffic is not heavy except for around Scranton. After months going to the Midwest where drought has been severe this year the lush green here was noticeable.  It was also cooler and less humid than the last couple of days in Ohio and Kentucky.  The rolling hills into  Connecticut and Massachusetts were pleasant as well. I had only been through this part of New England at night and by plane before so it was a new experience for me.

I should finish my week up with a run from Marion to Cincinnati OH and then be back home for a day and a half. We are still figuring out what Amy will do, her neck pain is still bothering her and we are both concerned about it being made worse by getting back in the truck.