How long will good times in the economy last? And: Mailbag from the no-parking trail

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Updated Jun 4, 2018

In this week’s Overdrive Radio podcast, you’ll hear the second part of audio from the Dallas Truckstop.com panel that opened the company’s user conference last week, with a bevy of insights into the economy and more from economists Noel Perry and John Larkin, and broker Jeff Tucker.

The segment you’ll hear is from the first half or so of the discussion, which in many ways centered on forces impacting the economy, the bread and butter at least of the two economists on the panel. They offered some predictions of how long demand conditions would continue well for trucking, how long the partially ELD-related bump in rates would roll forward, outlook on diesel prices and the oil-and-gas-related hauling sector in a variety of areas, and much more.

As I noted last week, keep in mind the panelists are speaking to a roomful of brokers, though much of the discussion pertains equally directly to small fleets and independents. Take a listen:

At the top of the podcast, though, a bit of a counterpoint from an owner-op to those who protest the rise of paid reservations at some truck stop chains, which we’ve been covering in our “ELDs up the ante on parking” series this week on just how the ELD mandate has changed parking dynamics the nation over. The counterpoint was from owner-op Carolyn Caroll, who called the ability to reserve spaces a godsend to her operation, going back to TA Petro’s introduction of its Reserve-It system in the years before mandated ELDs were in play.

As she wrote, “For a single female driver to walk through the parking lot in the middle of the night because I either need the restroom or am leaving early,” it was sometimes a little beyond comfortable for her. “Now with the reserved parking,” she said, “I am up front by the busy fuel aisles and no longer worry about my safety. Now that Flying J and Pilot have reserved parking, too, I am not worrying about where I will find a parking space.”

There’s also a couple other quick hits on a less direct premium being put on get-in-where-you-fit-in spots in Georgia and North Carolina – and no doubt other locales. They follow recent coverage of the Gastonia, N.C., booting/towing trap of sorts at U.S. 321 and I-85, and Long Haul Paul Marhoefer’s recent story on growing booting activity in the Atlanta area.

Finally, says owner-operator Martin Hill, the Walmart in Aurora, Colo., might be the company’s latest location to bite the dust when it comes to truck-friendly parking policies. It “was always a great place to stop because Walmart kindly provided a special parking lot just for big rigs, which is rare,” Hill says.

This photo by reader Martin Hill shows trucks parked in the car lot at the location now that the truck lot is no longer functional.This photo by reader Martin Hill shows trucks parked in the car lot at the location now that the truck lot is no longer functional.

However, last week on a run through the area, Hill found what he calls quote “a disaster. The truck parking lot is now closed and all blocked off so no trucks can enter. Thus, there were trucks everywhere who had arrived and were trying to fit in the car parking lot. I asked the assistant manager Colin what happened, and he told me that while they were happy to have truckers’ business, unfortunately, the truck parking lot was regularly filled with trash,” among other disturbances, in addition to, as the manager put it, Hill says, “the world’s oldest profession.”

The manager added that from here on out, trucks parked in their lot will have their plate number recorded — the 2nd time parked there, they could face fines.

As Hill puts it: “It’s a shame some ruined it for the many truckers who respect private property.”

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