Is Anyone Doing Anything About The Shortage Of Truck Parking?

Topic 9875 | Page 1

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Patzivota's Comment
member avatar

Parking is a huge challenge for me, especially when it comes to finding a safe spot overnight. I read on this website that many drivers struggle with this, too. However some parking tips several of ya'll have posted are quite good and helpful (use search).

The worst part is when you need to take a break (or need to use a restroom) but are on a stretch of road with nowhere to park for 50+ miles.

Yes I do drive with a teammate, so this issue doesn't happen daily, but we still have to stop for a few hrs or overnight sometimes.

My question: with a continued shortage of safe truck parking in this country, why aren't more truck stops being rapidly built? Why aren't the big truck stop companies filling in empty gaps along these many long stretches of road, which are popular among truckers, but have nowhere to park for 50+ miles?

I hear it's been like this for years. What is preventing improvement in this department?

Thank you.

Phox's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Errol said it the best... money.

Unless truck stops start charging for parking (I can only imagine the uproar from truckers) there's just not enough profit. Most if not all fuel stations tend to be independently operated from corps that make and sell the fuel. take exxon for example... the station is operated independently and he has to buy the fuel from exxon. the profit he makes on the fuel is very small... 'scuse me while I go google the correct amount...

you should know that after all the ups and downs in a year, gas stations do not make much money from selling gasoline. After credit card fees and other operating costs, net profit for gasoline sales averages 3 cents a gallon, according the National Association of Convenience Stores.

so you figure a truck fills up with 100-200 gallons of fuel, at the rate of 3 cents a gallon that's only $3-$6 profit made off that truck. So now you might wonder how do they stay in business like that? well there's the fact that the profit does add up but also the merch they sell in store, food, clothing, electronics, showers, etc. so when you only stop there to take your 10 hour and don't buy anything, not even fuel... they have not made any profit and possibly lost money cause your truck takes up a spot that another trucker who would have bought something could have used.

So now you think about if they built another station those profits would then be divided in half because it's 2x as many stations for the exact same amount of trucks. Now you could say that with another station those trucks that take 10 hour on side of road and along exit ramps and rest stops, etc could do so at the new station, my reply is "maybe" some people (some of them well known here) prefer to avoid the truck stops, some of them might use it but be apart of that group that doesn't buy anything. so really the chances of them reducing their profit and it just being another expense goes up.

This really is basic economics... supply and demand. to many truck stops not enough truckers you have to much supply not enough demand, to many truckers not enough stops, to much demand not enough supply. have to find that sweet spot. yeah they could prob build some more truck stops and still make a good profit, but right now they are in the sweet spot and nothing to change that.

Sadly money is what makes the world go 'round and there's just nothing to say that building a stop "here" will make them more profit or at least break even... plus it costs money to build a new stop so with no guarantee I don't foresee it happening.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

This is neither a vote for or against paid parking, but merely a few observations of mine:

This past Saturday night I parked at the T/A in Pennsylvania at exit 5 on I-81 (Greencastle Exit). If you are familiar with this stop it is a busy location and has a full row of reserved parking spaces - Total of four rows - three free, and one pay to park. It was about one in the morning when I pulled in and I knew it was going to be hit or miss at that time of the night. There were two trucks parked in the pay to park row! The rest was full. I circled around a few times and someone pulling a reefer pulled out leaving me a vacant spot.

I have used the reserved parking a couple of times, both of them were when I was forced to do it.

The going rate is twenty bucks a night for a paid parking spot. Very few drivers are willing to pay that, and I don't see them dropping that rate just for the truck drivers convenience.

I agree with Mud Dog in so far as I don't normally have too much trouble finding parking, but when I was a rookie and didn't really understand how to plan my days better I had considerable problems with it. I think the 14 hour rule and the thirty minute break rule have cause a lot of our parking problems, but I don't see either one of those things going by the way side. There is quite a bit of parking available in my opinion, but too many of us are trying to park at the same times due to the limitations of the clock.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I hear [the lack of truck parking has] been like this for years. What is preventing improvement in this department?

The one direct hold up for parking is money. Truck stops are in business to make money, the parking is just a side benefit for drivers. (If you notice, Love's are all over the place, but their parking is so small & tight.) States are converting some roadside rest areas to exclusively truck parking, and most weigh stations allow you to park overnight. New land only for parking is money spent without a return - so it's not an investment.

You can get a phone app that lists truck stops and parking areas. I use Trucker Path - it's free & pretty good. Also, time your longer stops for any time after noon. That's when you could get a pick-up football game going in most tuck stop parking areas.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Phox's idea:

I still think a lot of truckers would be upset over being required to pay for them, but $5-$10 a day isn't much, maybe you could earn free parking days like the free showers. I don't know how it would be handled if you had to miss a reservation (horrible incident that closes the hwy for hours on end and you run out of time and can't make it.)

Well, the two places I know about, West Memphis and Atlanta, charge $20. (Can't recall just now what company, but it's one of the big ones.) The Atlanta one has a nice deal: Buy 50g fuel, or spend $20 in the store/restaurant. Otherwise its $15 cash on the way out. Dinner and breakfast (you know you wanted cooked meals!) ain't all that bad.

Also, if it's crowded or they want the parking fee, across the road you may find an empty slot among the other trucks parked there.

Chris philosophizes:

The only real solution is just to chase the moon.

That's what I do when I can. After about noon you can have any space you want at any truck stop. Just pull through - no backing in! And when you pull out at 11pm, someone on the "day shift" can finally have a spot.

Mud Dog's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Money is just a small factor. Zoning and EPA regulations are the major issue. Truck exhaust, emissions, oil leakage, noise, trash, and not to mention **** bottles, all prevent new facilities. BTW, there is no shortage of parking. There IS a shortage of experienced drivers. Three weeks I've been out on this stint, and not once have I had a problem parking with a nearby restroom. Proper planning, knowledge of the areas, and quality backing skills are the reason why. Today's drivers are fickle about where they park. They HAVE to have the amenities, (shower, restaurant, cable television) . These are all provided by the "Rewards" programs promoted by the major chains. Avoid the major chains. Find the back door truck stops. There is always parking out here if you plan right. Now, 15, 20 years ago, trying to squeeze a 53' trailer into a truck stop built for 45' trailers....that was a challenge.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
I hear [the lack of truck parking has] been like this for years. What is preventing improvement in this department?

The one direct hold up for parking is money. Truck stops are in business to make money, the parking is just a side benefit for drivers. (If you notice, Love's are all over the place, but their parking is so small & tight.) States are converting some roadside rest areas to exclusively truck parking, and most weigh stations allow you to park overnight. New land only for parking is money spent without a return - so it's not an investment.

You can get a phone app that lists truck stops and parking areas. I use Trucker Path - it's free & pretty good. Also, time your longer stops for any time after noon. That's when you could get a pick-up football game going in most tuck stop parking areas.

Phox's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!

Errol said it the best... money.

Unless truck stops start charging for parking (I can only imagine the uproar from truckers) there's just not enough profit. Most if not all fuel stations tend to be independently operated from corps that make and sell the fuel. take exxon for example... the station is operated independently and he has to buy the fuel from exxon. the profit he makes on the fuel is very small... 'scuse me while I go google the correct amount...

you should know that after all the ups and downs in a year, gas stations do not make much money from selling gasoline. After credit card fees and other operating costs, net profit for gasoline sales averages 3 cents a gallon, according the National Association of Convenience Stores.

so you figure a truck fills up with 100-200 gallons of fuel, at the rate of 3 cents a gallon that's only $3-$6 profit made off that truck. So now you might wonder how do they stay in business like that? well there's the fact that the profit does add up but also the merch they sell in store, food, clothing, electronics, showers, etc. so when you only stop there to take your 10 hour and don't buy anything, not even fuel... they have not made any profit and possibly lost money cause your truck takes up a spot that another trucker who would have bought something could have used.

So now you think about if they built another station those profits would then be divided in half because it's 2x as many stations for the exact same amount of trucks. Now you could say that with another station those trucks that take 10 hour on side of road and along exit ramps and rest stops, etc could do so at the new station, my reply is "maybe" some people (some of them well known here) prefer to avoid the truck stops, some of them might use it but be apart of that group that doesn't buy anything. so really the chances of them reducing their profit and it just being another expense goes up.

This really is basic economics... supply and demand. to many truck stops not enough truckers you have to much supply not enough demand, to many truckers not enough stops, to much demand not enough supply. have to find that sweet spot. yeah they could prob build some more truck stops and still make a good profit, but right now they are in the sweet spot and nothing to change that.

Sadly money is what makes the world go 'round and there's just nothing to say that building a stop "here" will make them more profit or at least break even... plus it costs money to build a new stop so with no guarantee I don't foresee it happening.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

I think they should go ahead and build paid lots somehow. I don't know how you set it up. Maybe the states build em, maybe private companies - whatever. But if you could pay $5 and you knew there was always going to be a spot open then that's worth it sometimes. It's annoying that you have to worry about finding parking when you're trying to schedule your day. Sure would be nice to pull off the road at 10:00 pm, cruise right into an open spot, and you're good to go. No hassle.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Many truck stop chains have "reserved" parking. If the lot is crowded and the place is really where you want to stop, pay about $20, even call ahead, and you have a place for the night.

Also, many truck stops near urban areas (I know if West Memphis and Atlanta) give you a parking time ticket. Stopping for 2 hours/fueling? No problem. Over night? $20 on the way out.

Supply/demand and all that.

Justin N.'s Comment
member avatar

In the two years I have been driving I have never run out of time before managing to find a place to park at.

Mostly because I drive regionally out of Dallas, have not touched the coastal states since my training days.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

In the two years I have been driving I have never run out of time before managing to find a place to park at.

Mostly because I drive regionally out of Dallas, have not touched the coastal states since my training days.

You have your 14 hours, and your 11 driving hours, (or your recap), plan wisely!

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Snappy's Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

In the two years I have been driving I have never run out of time before managing to find a place to park at.

Mostly because I drive regionally out of Dallas, have not touched the coastal states since my training days.

double-quotes-end.png

You have your 14 hours, and your 11 driving hours, (or your recap), plan wisely!

And plan for contingencies. Because you don't know when you're going to be stuck behind a wreck for three hours.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Phox's Comment
member avatar

I think it would be great if there was a way the major truck stops could have an app that tells you how many parking spots are left at any given time.

Any of you all seen those parking garages that have the little display saying how many spots are left and says full when it's full. I don't know if it's based on a sensor detecting when cars go in or out or if it's based on your parking fee ticket, when you grab one it ticks a spot off the # of them left and when you pay and leave it add one, either way something like this combined with mobile apps would be great... maybe I should send an email to pilot, love and TA. I know it would cost money but perhaps they could add a feature for you to reserve a spot, specific spot at that for a price. "I want row b spot 17" then pay $5-$10, maybe $10 for reserved in advanced, $5 if you get it when you get there.

I still think a lot of truckers would be upset over being required to pay for them, but $5-$10 a day isn't much, maybe you could earn free parking days like the free showers. I don't know how it would be handled if you had to miss a reservation (horrible incident that closes the hwy for hours on end and you run out of time and can't make it.). Sure it may not be the truckers fault but that's a spot someone else could have paid for and gotten, on the one side I think a 50% refund is fair but to penalize someone for something that wasn't their fault sucks, then again it happens all the time when you fly or travel... i'm sure someone would figure those logistics out.

I really feel like mobile apps are a way of the future, sadly they're a little slow for the trucking industry but that's because there's less of a trucking population to express interest, unless a trucker knows how to develop apps he'll need to find a way to express the interest in a non trucker to develop the app, but since they're not truckers that's not where their mindset goes to. all in good time i suppose... we didn't always have gps for trucks back when we first got consumer available gps units, but look now... we do.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Christopher W.'s Comment
member avatar

This is a problem that I face frequently as someone who generally flies between major cities.

The problem is the big corporations not seeing any need to expand parking lots since it could be wasted revenue.

Sure, charging for a spot would seem profitable for them, but 10-20$ a night could be steep for some drivers, especially new hires if companies choose not to reimburse for parking.

The only real solution is just to chase the moon.

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.

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