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Truck stops have every right to charge to park. I have every right to not pay for it. The fact is that I feel as though I have been paying for it over the last 30 years. I have been paying for my fuel. I have had meals in the truck stops. In short, I have been a good customer. I will continue to be a good customer, but for the chains that charge to park, I feel as though I am no longer a valued customer.

I am not boycotting the truck stop chains. I will be doing less business with them. They have made a business decision. That is their right. I have made a business decision. That is my right. A lot has been made of our ability to say NO. In some ways the ELD mandate has given us not just the ability to say NO to customers, but in some cases the necessity to do so. While, I could afford to pay directly for parking, I choose to say NO!

My number one choice has always been to take my ten hour break at my customer. That meant that I did not have to start my clock until we started the unloading process. I don’t have to allow for traffic jams, or slow freight trains and budget in an extra 30 minutes. If another truck is late, I am there for my customer. They don’t have to fall behind schedule. It is a win win for my customer and for me.

There are restaurants that allow overnight truck parking. Most of them have better breakfast prices than the truck stop chains that I just paid to park at. I have been running the upper midwest for 30 years and I know where these places are. I have shared a few of my places in the past. There are also the mom and pop truck stops. We may or may not get fuel discounts there. One of my favorites is the How Dea truck stop in Belgium, WI. There are sidewalks that lead into town. Those sidewalks also lead the inter urban trail. When I get back, I can purchase a shower. If I have my own towel, it is relatively cheap. Then I can have breakfast in their restaurant. I am sure that you know of a few mom and pop truck stops that value your business. Patronize them.

The ELD mandate has forced some changes on the industry. Some of them are good. Rates are up. Shippers have to be aware that if they hold us up, the load to their customer will be late. We have lost some flexibility. It used to be that if we went to a truck stop, and there was no parking, we could just move on to the next one. The mandate has made that harder. A lot of truckers and trucking companies have made the decision to pay for parking. I have no problem with their decision. As for me, I have decided not to. Challenge accepted.

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About Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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