Friday, November 6, 2015

If truckers were as rich as everyone thought

I’ve seen my fair share of ways all levels of government have tried to get into the pocket of truck drivers. While this one is not a new gimmick, I just couldn’t get over how obtuse at least part of one city government’s leadership appears to be.

Let me set the stage.

There’s a California city, which like most cities, has some abandoned lots inside its borders. And, like a lot of cities, if the property isn’t posted, truckers park their trucks there while at home or maybe even when waiting to deliver the next morning.

Suisun City, Calif., doesn’t have a parking ordinance prohibiting trucks from parking at home. The city has the typical sampling of weight restrictions on some roads, no parking for more than two hours in posted zones, basically the usual stuff.

But, according to the Daily Republic, there have been a few truck drivers who have taken to parking overnight behind the post office on an abandoned lot.

Behind the post office. On city-owned, undeveloped land. That’s not posted. Overnight.

Now, like a lot of cities, Suisun City is looking for ways to raise money to make ends meet. Hard times, yo.

Here’s where it a takes a turn to dull-witted.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Finding ‘hidden treasures’ gets trucker moving

We hadn’t quite walked all the way to the green dot on the GPS display when veteran geocacher Jason Fostier spotted the small “treasure” chest fastened to the trunk of a tree. Inside, we found some modest trinkets like a cigar wrapped in cellophane and a small notebook, which he signed his name in and dated, before leaving a package of Halloween candy inside for the next intrepid explorer.

What’s a geocacher? Someone who participates in a “real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices” according to the official explanation from the website geocaching.com.

Fostier, an OOIDA member from Somersworth, N.H., stopped by OOIDA headquarters in Grain Valley, Mo., on Oct. 30, intent on hitting the geocache hidden at the nearby park. We walked out there together Friday afternoon, while he explained his hobby, which is basically a never-ending scavenger hunt.

Fostier says he likes having a reason to get out of his cab and walk around. When not behind the wheel, he said he enjoys hiking and biking. He said a dispatcher at a company he used to work for introduced him to the game.

“We were just walking, and she said have you ever heard of geocaching?” he said. “You go out and look for things. The first one I found was right outside my mom’s house.”

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trucking Ubers keep coming

Move over. Here come two more Ubers for trucking.

One is called Convoy, the other Next Trucking. They both do pretty much the same thing as Truckerpath, Transfix, 10-4, you name it. There are differences among them, but all are built around the Uber idea of smartphone apps for drivers. Uber connects auto drivers with fares. The trucking Ubers connect truck drivers with loads. 

Of the two new entries, by far the biggest splash is being made by Convoy. Like all the others, it was born more of technology than transportation. But its backers are making headlines.

According to Bloomberg Business they include some of the most prominent names in the world of tech: Jeff Bezos of Amazon; Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com; Pierre Omidyar of eBay; Drew Houston of Dropbox; Howard Behar, former president of Starbucks; and even a co-founder of Uber, Garrett Camp.

Wow.