Fuel for Thought
Give and Take
Truck parking has been a major topic of conversation for quite some time. More often than not, the issue of truck parking is the lack thereof or the more recent issue of paid truck parking. Owner-operators have a lot of expenses just keeping their business afloat, add to that $10-$20 per day to park, and the costs will add up quickly. Although I am not, nor have I ever been in favor of paid truck parking, I can understand the issue from the truck stop's point of view. The truckstops are businesses just like the owner-operators that need a place to park to take their required breaks. On the owner-operator’s side of the argument, we do not want to incur more expenses. The truck stops however do not necessarily bring in any income to the facility just because you park there. If you do not buy their fuel, use their repair shop or shop in their store, they are just maintaining a parking area for truckers to park and leave. And many leave behind other maintenance problems for the truck stop - cleaning and repairing of the parking area. This would be equivalent to an owner-operator letting the shipper use their trailer for storage for free, and then cleaning it out so another shipper could use it for storage for free. While the trailer was used, it brought in zero income for the owner, yet the owner still had to incur the cost to clean and maintain the trailer.
In recent years, there seems to be more and more drivers trying to get healthy. While this is a good thing, it means many drivers have found that preparing food in the truck to be a healthier option and usually it will be better than fast food found at most truck stops, it also takes away from the income that the truck stops used to bring in by way of serving drivers in their restaurants. Many truck stops are now starting to offer healthier food choices, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. Until better options are available, more drivers will continue to prepare healthier food choices in their truck, while parked at truck stops, thus not spending in the stores and restaurants.
So, what is the answer to the parking issue?
Some would say paid parking is the way all parking is headed and we should just get used to it. This may be true as more and more parking areas are being converted to paid only parking.
Drivers who have been on the road for many years will remember that patronizing the truck stops on your route was just part of the give and take that allowed small truck stops to grow and add parking and other services. By give and take, I mean we give them our business in dollars and they take it to help pay for the facilities we need. If we stop giving, they are left with no choice but to take it from us in parking fees.
Would you allow an ever changing amount of trucks park in your yard for free? Actually it wouldn’t even be free, since you would have to repair your yard and clean up after many drivers who are too lazy to even use a garbage can, which most truck stops bought and provided for your convenience.
How many of you just take a parking spot without giving anything in return?
See you down the road,
You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
- Abraham Lincoln