A personal viewpoint as to why truckers don’t want to drive trucks anymore. His post has attracted a lot of attention on social media, it’s gritty stuff.
“So, you are running out of food on the shelves, fuel in the garages, you can’t buy things you need, because the shops can’t get their supplies.
Why is that?
A shortage of goods? No
A shortage of money? No
A shortage of drivers to deliver the goods? Well, sort of.
There isn’t actually a shortage of drivers, what we have, is a shortage of people who can drive, that are willing to drive any more. You might wonder why that is. I can’t answer for all drivers, but I can give you the reason I no longer drive. Driving was something I always yearned to do as a young boy, and as soon as I could, I managed to get my driving licence, I even joined the army to get my HGV licence faster, I held my licence at the age of 17. It was all I ever wanted to do, drive trucks, I had that vision of being a knight of the roads, bringing the goods to everyone, providing a service everyone needed. What I didn’t take into account was the absolute abuse my profession would get over the years.
I have seen a massive decline in the respect this trade has, first, it was the erosion of truck parking and transport café’s, then it was the massive increase in restricting where I could stop, timed weight limits in just about every city and town, but not all the time, you can get there to do your delivery, but you can’t stay there, nobody wants an empty truck, nobody wants you there once they have what they did want.
Compare France to the UK. I can park in nearly every town or village, they have marked truck parking bays, and somewhere nearby, will be a small routier, where I can get a meal and a shower, the locals respect me, and have no problems with me or my truck being there for the night.
Go out onto the motorway services, and I can park for no cost, go into the service area, and get a shower for a minimal cost, and have freshly cooked food, I even get to jump the queues, because others know that my time is limited, and respect I am there because it is my job. Add to that, I even get a 20% discount of all I purchase. Compare that to the UK £25-£40 just to park overnight, dirty showers, and expensive, dried (under heat lamps) food that is overpriced, and I have no choice but to park there, because you don’t want me in your towns and cities.
Ask yourself how you would feel, if doing your job actually cost you money at the end of the day, just so you could rest.
But that isn’t the half of it. Not only have we been rejected from our towns and cities, but we have also suffered massive pay cuts, because of the influx of foreign drivers willing to work for a wage that is high where they come from, companies eagerly recruited from the eastern bloc, who can blame them, why pay good money when you can get cheap labour, and a never ending supply of it as well. Never mind that their own countries would suffer from a shortage themselves, that was never our problem, they could always get people from further afield if they needed drivers.
We were once seen as knights of the road, now we are seen as the lepers of society. Why would anyone want to go back to that?
If you are worried about not getting supplies on your supermarket shelves, ask your local council just how well they cater for trucks in your district.
I know Canterbury has the grand total of zero truck parking facilities, but does have a lot of restrictions, making it difficult for trucks to stop anywhere.
Do you want me to go back to driving trucks? Give me a good reason to do so. Give anyone a good reason to take it up as a profession.
Perhaps once you work out why you can’t, you will understand why your shelves are not as full as they could be.
I tried it for over 30 years, but will never go back, you just couldn’t pay me enough.
Thank you to all those people who have shared this post. I never expected such a massive response, but am glad that this message is getting out there. I really hope that some people who are in a position to change just how bad it is for some drivers, can influence the powers that be to make changes for the better. Perhaps some city and town councillors have seen this, and are willing to bring up these issues at their council meetings. It surely cannot be too much to ask of a town/city to provide facilities for those who are doing so much to make sure their economies run and their shops and businesses are stocked with supplies. I never wanted any luxuries, just somewhere safe to park, and some basic ablutions that are maintained to a reasonable standard. I spent my nights away from my home and family for you, how much is it to ask that you at least give me access to some basic services.
There are tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of licence holders just like me, who will no longer tolerate the conditions. So the ball is firmly in the court of the councils to solve this problem.” By Jim Titheridge.
Wow, some food for thought there, it certainly opened our eyes.