My Prime PSD Experience

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G-Town's Comment
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"Some" WM docks? Most of the newer ones (last ten years or so) are made for truckers. They all can be turned into straight back, maybe with a little offset, but no biggie.

True, but... at least in the Northeast, the other 40% of the WMs are the older stores, many built in the late 70s-early 80s, long before 53' trailers were legal. Majority of the North Jersey/ NYC area stores have their own unique issues because many of them were built within established urban, residential areas requiring passage on roads that were likely new during the Roosevelt administration. Depending on the door that is available, I can think of several stores that definitely require close to a full 90 degree cut to get in the hole (ex: Cedar Knoll NJ, Princeton NJ, Riverdale, NJ, Elmsford NY). Watchung NJ dock is under the store (nose through a hanger-like, sliding door), in the middle of their packed warehouse and is absolutely (for several reasons) the most outrageous WM I have ever encountered.

Many of these older stores have little room to set-up, requiring you to back around the corner of the store (or container), without the luxury of seeing the dock door until you straighten out and have cleared the corner. For several of the stores in my DC territory a 48' trailer is recommended (Valley Stream NY, Wyncote PA), although I was only dispatched with a 48' van once in the year and a half I have been on the WM account. I have learned (through many a trial) that the "setup" is vital to efficiently navigating the backing maneuvers at the older stores.

I agree most of the newer stores are a piece of cake, but it's the older stores that challenge the patience and skill of the driver. The "fun of it" for sure.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

If you saw some of the morons out here you would feel more confident. We sat at a TA one night and watched 2 trucks block the lot for 45 min trying to park. One guy circled the lot 28 times. .I counted after awhile. There were no pull through spots. He could have paid for a spot and saved his fuel. You can SO do this. Hang in there.

The guys on the cb can be really funny too :)

double-quotes-end.png

I have nightmares of me being the one that can't park or back up properly. It just seems so intimidating, but I'm hoping that my ability to (so far) learn really quickly will still be there when I need it during training!

How is it having a male trainer? I doubt I'll take the time needed to wait for a female trainer, although I WILL wait for a non-smoking one. I've ridden in super close quarters for months at a time on a tour bus with musicians, but you at least have space to walk around and you can stay in your bunk if you want privacy. I'm hoping any trainer I have will let me do a lot of driving and will give me pointers along the way.

Keep posting! I'm reading everything and filing it away in my brain for future use!

My trainer is male AND a smoker. It doesn't bother me. He is respectful in every way. Very very patient....funny..and when I get frustrated he laughs as encourages me. It's better than a woman. A woman would just be like "put ur big girl panties on and get it in the hole" ;)

He has me do most of the driving..in a little over 2 wks I think I have 4000 miles. We stop for potty breaks often...we eat in truck stop diners....we shower DAILY unlike some horror stories I have Read. I have talked with several women who had bad trainers...or inappropriate ones. They called Prime and changed trainers...one woman from my group was at another terminal when I got there because she refused to get back on the truck with him. They gave her a new trainer. I met a guy who came onto me...stroked my leg...Galt out asked me to do him ...I'll save the details. Another woman said he did the same with her and we both reported him. PRIME responded to me immediately!

don't be intimidated ...u can do this ;)

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

My trainer is male AND a smoker. It doesn't bother me. He is respectful in every way. Very very patient....funny..and when I get frustrated he laughs as encourages me. It's better than a woman. A woman would just be like "put ur big girl panties on and get it in the hole" ;)

He has me do most of the driving..in a little over 2 wks I think I have 4000 miles. We stop for potty breaks often...we eat in truck stop diners....we shower DAILY unlike some horror stories I have Read. I have talked with several women who had bad trainers...or inappropriate ones. They called Prime and changed trainers...one woman from my group was at another terminal when I got there because she refused to get back on the truck with him. They gave her a new trainer. I met a guy who came onto me...stroked my leg...Galt out asked me to do him ...I'll save the details. Another woman said he did the same with her and we both reported him. PRIME responded to me immediately!

don't be intimidated ...u can do this ;)

Thanks for the encouragement! I'm not worried about inappropriateness or how to handle myself or the situation. I've worked in rock & roll long enough to be able to take care of myself. Although it's great to hear that Prime takes that stuff really seriously and will change trainers out immediately. In the music biz, if something got out of hand you could just punch a dude and since you worked in crews there were always people to back you up. I'm guessing Prime won't look too kindly on me decking someone. Hahahaha!

I'm ok with not showering every day. That's pretty much life on tours in music. Just need a bathroom where I can baby wipe myself down and put on fresh clothes and deoderant and I'm good. I really only need a shower a week if it comes to that. But I will admit that in summer time it's always nice to have that end of day shower to get the work washed off of you.

I would definitely not be able to have a smoking trainer. I have asthma, and while very well controlled, if the truck cab was always filled with smoke it might make things a little more difficult. But again, man or woman I don't care. Just teach me what I need to know to be the best driver I can be and that's all I ask.

Good luck and stay safe and thanks for the updates!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Well..I passed the pre trip no problem. I failed the backing. I got two hours of backing time after that and felt pressured to re test but stood my ground. I wanted more practice. After having another instructor explain a different set of reference points.. I understand much better. But I had to learn all new points in a different truck...in flatbed instead of reefer...with narrower gears. .. but was told that I'll do well when I test tomorrow. I'm a lot more confident now though cause I understand it. The other instructors methods just did not work for me.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

I keep getting some private messages asking about "perv" trainers and money, so I figure I will just put it here. Men are men, and SOME are pigs. It could be in trucking or working in a doctor's office, you are bound to meet a perv. For the most part, everyone I have met at Prime has been helpful, pleasant, nice, and smiles. I did meet one "perv" who straight out asked me for sex. He was not my trainer, but I told him where to go anyway.

If for any reason, you have issues with your trainer, call the Fleet manager and explain. I have heard from a couple of students (guys included) that for whatever reason, things did not work out and the Fleet Manager either had them re-routed to a terminal or actually told the trainee to get off at a truck stop where another Prime driver picked the trainee up. If you feel endangered, then you must call immediately. From what I have seen, Prime takes sexual advances very seriously. He said/she said is hard to deal with--- however, if this trainer has a past complaint, then Prime will probably be more concerned and give more weight to the allegations. I have heard of situations where a trainer was fired. Also, i have seen newer drivers at truck stops approach other Prime drivers to ask questions (such as, "what do i do with this reefer , it keeps giving me warning codes"). I saw quite a few of my own PSD student classmates at the truckstops. If you truly are THAT fearful of your trainer--- TELL SOMEONE.

My male trainer was respectful, funny, and informative. He taught me how to drive. I couldn't care less if he was a purple monkey who smoked pickles... i wanted a trainer. As a woman, I have no issues or fears about my next trainer being a man (I'll be entering the TNT phase shortly).

Money: The first week of orientation you get a hotel room and a meal card. On the 8th day, you are expected to pay for your own meals. To help you, Prime gives you an ID card with an ATM strip on the back called a "ComData Card". You can take out money from the ATM in the amount of $200 per week--- as an advance against future wages. When it is time to test, you will return to Prime's motel and will not pay for the room, but will pay for the food. Once you get your CDL (about 4-5 wks from your first day of orientation) you will then earn $700 gross per week and $25 per week will be taken from your pay to payback the $200 per week you used. The $200 is there, but if you do not choose to use it, you owe nothing.

Be careful with these cards though. Just like ATM machines, it has fees, and you can easily rack up fees by trying to ask for a balance. Also keep in mind that ATM machines are charging $3 per transaction to use them. So rather than taking $20 then $20 then $20, just take out a larger sum. You can pay back Prime more quickly if you are able to do so.

Something else about money is that the prices are relative. Consider where you are from originally. I'm from the Northeast where a Big Mac meal can cost you $12. Here, you can get a huge burger and a cheesecake order for the same price at a real restaurant. Most breakfasts at the cafeteria in the motel are like $4 or so coffee and ice tea are free. Every friday, there is a safety meeting at the Prime terminals and drivers get to ask questions and get updates of new events. Breakfasts are free. I was astounded by the cheap price of the Midwest--- the same down jacket back home for $125 was only $40 here. Not saying everything is like that.... but to me, things seemed much cheaper. If you live in the south, you might find it more expensive.

Anymore questions?

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

PSD:

Prime Student Driver

Prime Inc has a CDL training program and the first phase is referred to as PSD. You'll get your permit and then 10,000 miles of on the road instruction.

The following is from Prime's website:

Prime’s PSD begins with you obtaining your CDL permit. Then you’ll go on the road with a certified CDL instructor for no less than 75 hours of one-on-one behind the wheel training. After training, you’ll return to Prime’s corporate headquarters in Springfield, Missouri, for final CDL state testing and your CDL license.

Obtain CDL Permit / 4 Days

  • Enter program, study and test for Missouri CDL permit.
  • Start driving/training at Prime Training Center in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Work toward 40,000 training dispatched miles (minimum) with food allowance while without CDL (Food allowance is paid back with future earnings).

On-the-Road Instruction / 10,000 Miles

  • Train with experienced certified CDL instructor for 3-4 weeks in a real world environment.
  • Get 75 hours of behind-the-wheel time with one-on-one student/instructor ratio.
  • Earn 10,000 miles toward total 40,000 miles needed.

TNT:

Trainer-N-Trainee

Prime Inc has their own CDL training program and it's divided into two phases - PSD and TNT.

The PSD (Prime Student Driver) phase is where you'll get your permit and then go on the road for 10,000 miles with a trainer. When you come back you'll get your CDL license and enter the TNT phase.

The TNT phase is the second phase of training where you'll go on the road with an experienced driver for 30,000 miles of team driving. You'll receive 14¢ per mile ($700 per week guaranteed) during this phase. Once you're finished with TNT training you will be assigned a truck to run solo.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Bud A.'s Comment
member avatar

Money: The first week of orientation you get a hotel room and a meal card. On the 8th day, you are expected to pay for your own meals. To help you, Prime gives you an ID card with an ATM strip on the back called a "ComData Card". You can take out money from the ATM in the amount of $200 per week--- as an advance against future wages. When it is time to test, you will return to Prime's motel and will not pay for the room, but will pay for the food. Once you get your CDL (about 4-5 wks from your first day of orientation) you will then earn $700 gross per week and $25 per week will be taken from your pay to payback the $200 per week you used. The $200 is there, but if you do not choose to use it, you owe nothing.

Be careful with these cards though. Just like ATM machines, it has fees, and you can easily rack up fees by trying to ask for a balance. Also keep in mind that ATM machines are charging $3 per transaction to use them. So rather than taking $20 then $20 then $20, just take out a larger sum. You can pay back Prime more quickly if you are able to do so.

FYI, if you buy something at Walmart, even a pack of gum, you can request cash back. I can't remember if there's no fee or a $1 fee, but it's definitely the least expensive way to get cash from you ComData card. Calling the number on the back of the card to get a balance also costs a dollar. Cheaper to keep track of what you've spent and write it down somewhere. The company store can also tell you your balance.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Miss Miyoshi's Comment
member avatar

I positively live for your updates, since I'm planning on going to Prime in April. Your experiences are a great insight, as a woman and as a new driver. I think we have similar attitudes about trainers. I'm there to learn. If you teach me what I need to know, then that's all I require. I'm pretty easy to get along with and anticipate no problems of being congenial and having a trainer that will be friendly as well as professional.

Good luck with backing! In my mind it seems the hardest thing I'll have to learn. But you can do it! You've done awesome so far, it sounds like. Thanks for the updates and keep them coming!

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Bud explains:

FYI, if you buy something at Walmart, even a pack of gum, you can request cash back. I can't remember if there's no fee or a $1 fee, but it's definitely the least expensive way to get cash from you ComData card. Calling the number on the back of the card to get a balance also costs a dollar. Cheaper to keep track of what you've spent and write it down somewhere. The company store can also tell you your balance.

Nearly any retail stores can give you cash back at the register, no extra charge. (The truck stops know that trick, so the cashier will tell you "No cash back, you can use the ATM.")

For ComData cards, get the phone app FleetAdvance. You can check your card balance and see a transaction record for free. Also, check the balance if you think it's low, they will charge you another fee if they disapprove a purchase charge.

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Money: The first week of orientation you get a hotel room and a meal card. On the 8th day, you are expected to pay for your own meals. To help you, Prime gives you an ID card with an ATM strip on the back called a "ComData Card". You can take out money from the ATM in the amount of $200 per week--- as an advance against future wages. When it is time to test, you will return to Prime's motel and will not pay for the room, but will pay for the food. Once you get your CDL (about 4-5 wks from your first day of orientation) you will then earn $700 gross per week and $25 per week will be taken from your pay to payback the $200 per week you used. The $200 is there, but if you do not choose to use it, you owe nothing.

Be careful with these cards though. Just like ATM machines, it has fees, and you can easily rack up fees by trying to ask for a balance. Also keep in mind that ATM machines are charging $3 per transaction to use them. So rather than taking $20 then $20 then $20, just take out a larger sum. You can pay back Prime more quickly if you are able to do so.

double-quotes-end.png

FYI, if you buy something at Walmart, even a pack of gum, you can request cash back. I can't remember if there's no fee or a $1 fee, but it's definitely the least expensive way to get cash from you ComData card. Calling the number on the back of the card to get a balance also costs a dollar. Cheaper to keep track of what you've spent and write it down somewhere. The company store can also tell you your balance.

Calling the number costs $1 and because we are not Prime employees yet, the balance always says zero or one dollar. Someone called it like 20 times trying to get the amount. We were told we can ask the orientation office for a balance, otherwise we just need to keep track. I believe Walmart is free now, which is indeed awesome.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Bud explains:

double-quotes-start.png

FYI, if you buy something at Walmart, even a pack of gum, you can request cash back. I can't remember if there's no fee or a $1 fee, but it's definitely the least expensive way to get cash from you ComData card. Calling the number on the back of the card to get a balance also costs a dollar. Cheaper to keep track of what you've spent and write it down somewhere. The company store can also tell you your balance.

double-quotes-end.png

Nearly any retail stores can give you cash back at the register, no extra charge. (The truck stops know that trick, so the cashier will tell you "No cash back, you can use the ATM.")

For ComData cards, get the phone app FleetAdvance. You can check your card balance and see a transaction record for free. Also, check the balance if you think it's low, they will charge you another fee if they disapprove a purchase charge.

Awesome info guys! thanks to both of you :)

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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