Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Parking Problems For A Big Rig Never End

I'd love to write a respectable journalist style post about this, but I don't have it in me.  I'd rather just bitch.

If you're a truck driver, you know how limited parking can be.  And when you're part of the problem, it makes it hard to get anything changed.

The parking situation is worse in some states than others - many of them are closing rest areas and others I suspect the real estate is non-existent or just too expensive.  In some places, you're lucky to even find a truck stop within fifty miles of where you pick-up or deliver.

This weekend when we arrived at the truck stop we chose to park at, around 1am local time, the parking was very limited.  That's usually the case at this time of night but we always seem to get lucky.  There were a few open spots that Ed tried - there are always open spots that other drivers attempt but can't back into, spots that always work for us because of Ed's superb backing skills - but this lot was so tight, each one he tried just didn't work.

What pissed me off, were all the bobtails that were taking up full spots.  I counted at least six.  For those who don't know, we call a truck without a trailer a bobtail.  And often, like at this location, bobtails have their own parking area.

But they weren't using it.

I've used red arrows on the photo above to show you what it looks like when spots are being occupied by tractors only.  Now if the lot was empty, like it is in the photo, it's not a problem.  But when you're driving around looking for a spot and the other person in the truck keeps exclaiming, "Ooh, there's one!" and then you get to it and you see a bobtail snuggled far back into the spot, you start to get a little frustrated.

In addition to the ones who park all the way in the spot, taking up a third of the space allotted, there are many who park like the trucks in the photo, with their nose lined up with the others.  I think that annoys me even more, because you pass by and think it's a real truck and then you see that they don't have a trailer.  They're just trying to fake you out.  Bastards!

I think the truck stop should bear some responsibility regarding the parking situation - nothing good can come of one driver knocking on the door of another in the middle of the night to ask him to move.  They never will, but I think they should.  

Oddly, they don't mind charging us for reserving a parking space - which supposedly came about via drivers' requests for it - but it's happening in too many places for my liking.  Last week we arrived at another location very late at night, and although there were a few spots left, the reserved parking spots were as empty as a piƱata at a fat kid's birthday party.

I left a message on the company's Facebook page regarding this incident and I think I'm going to do that more often.  Other drivers can see it, a few have already added their own comments, and maybe if we tell them what we'd like, they'll listen.

Even if it doesn't make them any money.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013: Need I Say More?
2012: Despite The Name, This Might Not Be Your Place If You’re Truly Bashful
2011: Then Someone Lit The Flame And Plain Rode Away On Lion’s Mane
2010: It Once Had A Life
2009: Life’s A Planet Beach
2008: I Wasn’t Even Fishing, But I Certainly Got A Great Catch
2007: Royal Air Force Typhoon Blows Into Nellis
2006: This Dandelion Needs Rogaine
2005: Sorry, no post on this day. The blog didn’t start until May 2005!


Belledog said...

I'd say print up on your computer, and leave on the bobtailer's window, a gentle note explaining how tired you were when you arrived and it did not help to have them occupying a 71+ foot space when THEY could have parked elsewhere.

That it's hard enough out there for truckers without those with bobtails making it harder for those taking their mandated rest breaks. Then wish them well on their drive.

Speaking only for myself, in my off the road life, I respond better to polite requests, and particularly after having a little time to think through the situation. A nice note from a fellow trucker would do that.

Interesting problem to highlight, though, and good on you for making it known.

Heather said...

I used to hate that also when I drove. Some problems never get better it seems. I also hated pulling into rest areas and seeing campers and cars with trailers parked with the trucks late at night. I know that the signs direct them to park there but when I'm exhausted and would park out of the way in the car parking area and then wake up to a state trooper banging on my door with ticket in hand... ugh! You know darn well those "tourists" in the campers aren't going to be given a ticket if they park with the cars.

Marlaina said...

Let me tell you, in the six years that I have been doing this, the parking situation has changed but it is steadily getting worse. I think there are more regional runs, ostensibly to get drivers home on weekends. Now I find that the trucks stops are jammed from Sunday night to Friday morning, but fairly open on the weekend. Truck stops are actually hounding bobtails out of areas where they would be better off because it interferes with car parking. Most truckstops are now C-Stores that also sell diesel and sometimes have space for a big truck to park. There is more paid parking and I think that trend will continue. On one hand, I know they have to make money too, on the other hand, many laws say we can't drive around aimlessly and we can't stop wherever there is space. So once again, it's going to take a catastrophe before something is done. And the regulators could start by banging the drum for being shippers and receivers into the regulated fold. If some of these giant distribution centers that use most of the trucks had parking spaces and facilities, which they should have, it would ease the parking situation. I hate that these giant corporations use taxpayers money to make their bazillions, pay no tax themselves and have no responsibility in their industry. And we the people have become so used to being hosed, that we the discomfort is now feels normal. There that's my rant.

Anonymous said...

We are guilty of doing that very thing. We are not a bobtail, but do drive a straight truck and it is considerably smaller than a truck and trailer. We do prefer to back all the way up into the space. Sometimes it has been helpful to other trucks in a tight situation trying to back in. Something about wanting to be alone in a truck stop full of other trucks.

M.T. in Missouri

The Daily Rant said...

BELLEDOG: This is such a great idea! A much better approach than what was on my mind. LOL I don't know that it'd make much of a difference, but it might put the thought in their head next time they're driving around looking for a spot.

HEATHER: I'm SO with you on the camper and cars with trailers thing! I know they need to rest too, but we have to rest BY LAW. And they can go to Walmart. And if a cop woke me up to hand me a ticket, I'd be pissed. And that's one ticket I'd make sure I got back to that town to go to court for!

MARLAINA: After a certain hour, they SHOULD let bobtails park in car parking. In the wee hours of the morning when we are tired and need to stop, those stores aren't packed with shoppers. And a car can easily squeeze in somewhere else. And I totally agree that the shippers and receivers should be held accountable as part of the problem. Just once I'd like to see what would happen if the trucks stopped running - even the lawmakers would be rethinking their idiotic rules.

ANONYMOUS: I am a little more okay with a straight truck taking up the space over a bobtail. And I can see wanting to cozy into the spot - it does feel very private. Sometimes we nose in for that very reason - so I can leave the curtains open and not have every Tom, Dick, and Harry peering in. But again, there should be a straight truck parking area too, since you do require less space - you can feasibly fit two straight trucks in the spot a big truck needs. You need your rest too, so I get it. :)