Pilot Flying J to launch roadside assistance service in 2017, testing parking availability sensors

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Pilot Flying J is expanding its mobile offerings in 2017, as well as adding roadside assistance, building service shops and more.Pilot Flying J is expanding its mobile offerings in 2017, as well as adding roadside assistance, building service shops and more.

Pilot Flying J announced Wednesday it will be launching a roadside assistance program capable of changing tires and doing light repairs at roadside. The program will begin in January.

PFJ President Ken Parent also said the company will next year add parking availability information and parking reservation capabilities to its MyPilot app. Currently along the I-5 corridor in California, the company is testing a parking sensor system that can read whether or not a truck is in a space.

“It helps the driver know where they’ll park at the end of the day,” Parent said. “It helps them be more productive by not wasting time looking for parking. If our test at these 28 locations goes well, we’re going to look at allocating capital in 2017 to work from the West Coast to the East Coast with these sensors.”

Parent said the company has purchased approximately 150 trucks for its roadside assistance program, which will launch Jan. 16. In addition to the roadside trucks, the company also plans to open 20 repair shops in 2017, with construction beginning on the first one at the end of January.

“Since July 1, we’ve been building the infrastructure of this,” Parent said. “We’ve been hiring tire technicians and developing safety and training programs. This is an area we have seen of increased need.”

Parent said the company is also testing fuel island timers at seven locations around the country to give drivers an idea how long a truck has been at the fuel island and how long their wait in line could be.

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