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  1. #1
    Bobtail Member Werewolf's Avatar
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    Trans Am Trucking, Inc. - Olathe, Ks.

    I wish to tell everyone on this forum that if anyone is considering to do a lease purchase with Trans-Am Trucking that this will become the largest mistake that you will ever make! Trans-Am recently acquired James Helwig & Son out of Rockwall TX last year. Prior to the transition on 3-1-05, nearly 250+ drivers have resigned. The only reason why I stayed was due to the fact that James Helwig was employed by Trans-Am. WHile he was there, he made certain that drivers were being treated fairly and getting the miles. Around sometime in Mid-September, Trans-Am terminated James Helwig. I did a lease purchase on the tractor I transitioned from James Helwig & Son. I must say that since Johnny Jacobson has stepped back and allowed Russ McElliot and John Bledsoe to run a majority of the operations at Trans-Am, this company has been breaching contracts on the Cash Advances with both the Independent Contractors and Owner Operators, cutting back on the miles, Poor planning on a load to route you closest to home without having to deadhead an enormous amount of miles, they are stealing detention pay for the excessive wait at the receivers as you receive negative settlements, and will further insult you by offering you $20 or $15 to get through the week or 2 days. Apparently if you stand up to them, they will do anything they can to treat you worse than a dog. A certain John Bledsoe at Rockwall TX, A VP of Operations is a prime example of one of the culprits that is involved in scamming the drivers, breaching the I/C agreements, talks to you and treats you like scum, and besides, preys on one's ignorance and weakness regarding the laws if one just takes him for granted. So far, at least since this year, 200 drivers have quit Trans-Am with 2/3 of that being those who'se chosen to do their lease purchase program. They also are not reimbursing us on the fuel surcharge as they have discontinued this on December 9th as they claimed that fuel prices were getting lower. When costs increased, they never kept up with the rising costs, and therefore, we as I/C, O/O are merely out here driving for free as we get further into debt.


  2. #2
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    this is why i would have whole heartedly recommended that any owner operator join an association, much like OOIDA. you pay a yearly "fee" or subscription, of about $50 per year ( i think), and they have available lawyers (for a fee, i believe) that can help you decyhper a contract. you, as a leasee, need desperate representation. OOIDA will also pull class action suits against a company if you and some others will file with them. take a look at how many trucking companies have gone up against the OOIDA and lost, netting the owner-operators some refunds.

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  4. #3
    Bobtail Member
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    Trans Am Trucking, Inc. - Olathe, Ks.

    This place used to be a pretty good place to work for , but has gone down hill in a fast way. They now make you go where they want you to fuel up which means alot of unneeded miles (which you do not get paid for). You cannot go to the nearest fuel stop like you could before. I've known guys who had to travel over 150 miles to get their fuel. And the comdata cards dont work part of the time.
    The miles have went down drastically. You are doing more swaps (average 2-3 a week now) then ever. And the long hauls you do get occassionally, I mean RARELy, get t-called (cancelled) 7 out of 10 times.
    This company seemed to at least care about their drivers, not now. Worked for a guy Mike Beggs who unfortunately past away just recently. He was the best thing about Transam. He showed real concern for the drivers, and took care of them. It has not been that way since then. Am concidering National Carriers, they seem like a good place, could anyone give me info on them.

  5. #4
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    Many carriers are using that fueling system.It's the new rage. As for "THE ELITE FLEET"National has always been one of the best.

  6. #5
    Bobtail Member
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    Ello Peoples I wanted to let some of u know of a great company out thier that taken for what they are, is a good company and if u can handle the glam will offer u a nice job and a nice truck for a great career in the trucking industry.

    Out Of school ( sage ) I went to Trans Am Trucking, Althought they didnt completely disclose all information about the school and its practices... in the beginning... from resigning and repaying the training periods .. to what ur chances of getting a new truck and or the availibility of new trucks upon issue, they were and have a good training program.

    When arriving at the hotel tuesday night before wed class, the hotel sucked.. bad food bad service and bad accomidations. and u had to check out daily... ( shudda got lumper pay for that one ) The training staff with the exception of one person... was fantastic. as I finished my training and was ready to hit the road for the otr training ( 3 to 4 weeks ) the driver i was assigned bailed on me at the last minute... I was To Old... lol guess 43 is to old thies days... I better start watching more mtv... so they had to find me a trainer fast and one that smoked ( yes i am a smoker and yes i have rights too ). i stayed in a motel all weekend thier expense, then monday i went to the yard and still no trainer... i was told that they wouldnt keep paying me for training and that i would not be able to stay at hotel unless it was my expense... ummm NOT gonna happen..when i raised a few feathers they did infact take care of thies issues.
    Tuesday i was told they were still looking for a trainer and that it would not be untill Friday that i would be leaving... keep in mind the more i had to wait the more i had to sit and loose driving time and training ...as they say "cant make money if the wheels arnt turnin". i was not allowed to take any tests at this time due to company policies, whick i can understand but are not exceptions made? and i certinaly did not want to watch other trainees on the back up range all #### week lol. after all it wasnt my fault i was 43.. blame my parents.
    During this time i heard many stories from drivers and actualy employes about the bad thangs of trans am yet u can only take thangs with a grain of salt.. for some reason i didnt feel comfortable with thier company and observation is worth a billion words, after about noon tuesday i made my decision to leave TA and look for another program, they called me in and talked to me about a trainer who just came in and i could leave that day, unfortunatly it was to late. Althought my exp wasnt that great and im not saying Trans Am is a bad company, just not the company for me, they are in my opnion better than most out thier u can work for. Hands off to Johnny for starting a company taking and doing his best to take care of his drivers. They have the best lease Program out thier and IF u get in a new truck ( cross ur fingers ) ur in like flint! if not and ur a co. driver ur driving a Freightshaker Classic ( in 90% of cases... good luck! I went because of the hope of driving a new truck not someones old used and abused truck. they do have nice equiptment and it shows but in retro spect some of thier maintenance people need a bit more training in the turn around time ( heard more about down time in garage than on rd in some cases ).
    I understand how hard it must be to run a company but in running one of my own ( and still do ) its the employes that make or break ur bottom line. what i have learned the most from this experience is what i was told from the onset.... talk to drivers they know what thier talking about and i did and i didnt like what i was hearing yet... yet... 50% of the drivers say thier happy wiht Trans Am and i believe them its what they wanted or needed the other half are stuck. i have also learned about this from other forums and Im really starting to get a picture about the gossup, i think alot of companies are for the most part not all that bad, its the bad mouthing and the training of the office personel and the dispatch teams that direct the drivers that make it a bad career. i do want to thank my recruiter she was fantastic and did what she was hired to do. One of the most important thangs i learned was ask the questions.. they deal with hundreds of people and if u dont ask they dont always remember to tell u everythang not out of spite either. I am giving Trans Am a grade of 72% for thier training and overall attention to its mission statement. then again i have high standards and am probably in the wrong industry. or maybe they need more drivers like me and u to make the trucking industry a better place to be.......................... and if i hear folks one more time in gonna puke lmfao hope this helps others in making a choice in Trans Am Feel Free to Contact me if u need any more information>

  7. #6
    Bobtail Member
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    WELL I HAVE TO DISAGREE WITH WEREWOLF. SOUNDS TO ME LIKE HE HAS A PERSONAL GRUDGE WITH SOME ONE AT TRANS AM. I HAVE BEEN WITH TRANS AM FOR 15 MONTHS AND I AM IN THE LEASE/PURCHASE PROGRAM. IF YOU WANT TO WORK YOU CAN END UP OWNING YOUR TRUCK AS MANY ALREADY HAVE AT TRANS AM. BUT IF YOU WANT TO SIT AROUND THE TRUCK STOPS AND TALK ABOUT THE MILES THAT YOU'RE GOING TO RUN OR IF YOU ARE LIKE A LOT OF THEM THAT JUST HAVE TO PULL IN TO THE TRUCK STOPS BEFORE IT STARTS GETTING EVEN A LITTLE DARK BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID THE BIG BAD BOOGIE MAN WILL GET THEM IN THE NIGHT, THEN NO YOU WON'T MAKE ANY MONEY, YOU WON'T EVER END UP OWNING YOUR TRUCK AND ITS NO ONES FAULT BUT YOU'RE OWN. NO ONE IS GOING TO GIVE SOMEONE SOMETHING FOR NOTHING. A LOT OF THE L/P S BORROW THEMSELVES INTO A HOLE. LEARN SOME RESPONSIBILITY AND QUIT BLAMING THINGS THAT ARE MOST LIKELY YOUR OWN FAULT ON SOMEONE ELSE.

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  9. #7
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    Okay...we have a difference of opinion here, and that's healthy. But let's sort out the facts here;

    TransAm Trucking isn't considered to be a fantastic example of being one of the safest companies out there. They are far from the worst, but are in need of improvement.

    What I, as a driver would like to know, is it possible to make what you consider to be good money in their lease/purchase plan, and do it LEGALLY?

    Their statistics bear out that drivers with them have an out-of-service rate that is higher than the national average. Their ISS-2 stands at 93, and that's not good at all.

    Far too often, these companies strategically draft their lease/purchase plans to keep drivers strapped economically into the driver's seats as a way to keep their performance levels above what would be considered to be normal. The driver assumes all the risks, and the company washes it's hands of all complicity.

    You've used language that raises the hair on my back, and I detest it when people make comments to the effect that drivers who park their trucks at dusk are somehow inferior in some way. If they have put in their time for the day, that is what they are supposed to do. Some people work during the day, and some work at night.

    So...be honest. How much time do YOU spend fudging that logbook to make what you assert is a good living? What would your take home pay look like if you didn't fudge?

  10. #8
    Bobtail Member
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    PARK AT DUSK!?! I'VE SEEN IT START PARKING AT 1500 HRS IN THE AFTERNOON. HAVE SPOKEN TO THEM IN THE TRUCKSTOPS. THE REASON THEY ARE PARKING IS BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID THEY WON'T GET A PARKING SPACE. APPARENTLY YOU ALSO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH COMMUNICATION, AS NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT ANYBODY BEING INFERIOR. INFERIOR WOULD BE TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THEY CANNOT DO THE JOB. NO ONE MADE ANY TYPE OF CONCLUSION TO THAT POINT. I WAS POINTING OUT THAT YOU CANNOT SPEND MOST OF THE TIME SITTING ON YOUR REAR DRINKING COFFEE AND TELLING STORIES AND MAKE ANY MONEY. AS FAR AS FUDGING ON THE BOOKS, I SHUT DOWN WITHIN THE LEGAL HRS SET BY THE FMCSA. ALWAYS. IT DOES NOT PAY ANYTHING TO FUDGE ON THE BOOKS AND THEN GIVE IT ALL BACK TO THE DOT WHEN YOU GET CAUGHT. AND SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL GET CAUGHT. I PLAN MY TIME AT HOME, I PLAN MY RUNS. TRANS AM AS A PREPLAN SYSTEM THAT THEY KNOW 24 HRS BEFORE YOUR DELIVERY WHERE YOU ARE GOING NEXT. JUST ASK FOR A PREPLAN AND PLAN YOUR RUNS ACCORDINGLY. I PAY FOR MY TRUCK, I MAKE MONEY, AND I DO NOT GET TICKETS FROM THE DOT. IN 32 YEARS OF RUNNING IVE HAD ONE TICKET FOR LOGS AND THAT MY FRIEND WAS MANY YEARS AGO. AS FAR AS YOUR DETESTING STATEMENTS MADE BY OTHER PEOPLE MAYBE YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE OF THE POINT THEY ARE MAKING BEFORE DRAWING A CONCLUSION OF WHAT THEY ARE THINKING.

  11. #9
    Road Train Member
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    First of all, will you please turn off the "Caps". It makes it look as if you are yelling....

    PARK AT DUSK!?! I'VE SEEN IT START PARKING AT 1500 HRS IN THE AFTERNOON. HAVE SPOKEN TO THEM IN THE TRUCKSTOPS. THE REASON THEY ARE PARKING IS BECAUSE THEY ARE AFRAID THEY WON'T GET A PARKING SPACE.
    The point is, you couldn't possibly be in a position to know the circumstance of every TransAm driver, and why they are all parked at the time they are. Have you ever considered that they may not be delivering until the next day, and are as close to the consignee as they can get?

    APPARENTLY YOU ALSO HAVE A PROBLEM WITH COMMUNICATION, AS NO ONE SAID ANYTHING ABOUT ANYBODY BEING INFERIOR. INFERIOR WOULD BE TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THEY CANNOT DO THE JOB. NO ONE MADE ANY TYPE OF CONCLUSION TO THAT POINT.
    Thank you for clarifying that. I can comprehend quite well, and when you use ridiculing phrases like...."THEY ARE AFRAID THE BIG BAD BOOGIE MAN WILL GET THEM IN THE NIGHT", it appears to be similar to comments offered by other drivers who like to look down their noses at others. I find it a needless example of inflammitory language and an observation born with an absence of the facts being in evidence to substantiate the comment.

    NO ONE MADE ANY TYPE OF CONCLUSION TO THAT POINT. I WAS POINTING OUT THAT YOU CANNOT SPEND MOST OF THE TIME SITTING ON YOUR REAR DRINKING COFFEE AND TELLING STORIES AND MAKE ANY MONEY.
    I see. Drivers are not entitled to take meal and coffee breaks in their day? You're making too many assumptions in offering that some of these drivers are spending "most" of their days taking breaks. I dare offer to you, that this is NOT the case at all. But let's see where the rest of this goes before I offer comment....

    AS FAR AS FUDGING ON THE BOOKS, I SHUT DOWN WITHIN THE LEGAL HRS SET BY THE FMCSA. ALWAYS. IT DOES NOT PAY ANYTHING TO FUDGE ON THE BOOKS AND THEN GIVE IT ALL BACK TO THE DOT WHEN YOU GET CAUGHT. AND SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL GET CAUGHT. I PLAN MY TIME AT HOME, I PLAN MY RUNS. TRANS AM AS A PREPLAN SYSTEM THAT THEY KNOW 24 HRS BEFORE YOUR DELIVERY WHERE YOU ARE GOING NEXT. JUST ASK FOR A PREPLAN AND PLAN YOUR RUNS ACCORDINGLY. I PAY FOR MY TRUCK, I MAKE MONEY, AND I DO NOT GET TICKETS FROM THE DOT. IN 32 YEARS OF RUNNING IVE HAD ONE TICKET FOR LOGS AND THAT MY FRIEND WAS MANY YEARS AGO.
    I commend you on your observing the rules as they are. How can you know for sure that all the others are doing the same thing you are, but at different times of the day? I find that by assuming that all the trucks you see parked in the truckstop, or a person who has commented that they have not done well with TransAm, falls into that category that you laid out, as those who are simply seeking to park early.

    I find Werewolf's comments to be completely believeable, because this is a common complaint that drivers have when they are lured into lease/purchase plans, and you give me no reason to think that TransAms program is any better than the others. In fact, I'm betting it is even worse than some out there. He also made comparisons to the way things were with a company that TransAm purchased, and offered some evidence to suggest that all is not going well with those aquired drivers. This too is a common complaint when drivers are subjected to changes of that magnitude. I didn't see anything at all to suggest that his post was a "grudge" post. In fact, he brought up some rather specific charges, none of which you chose to address. You instead offered a generalized contradiction, which doesn't really come close to convincing me of a thing.

    But I have more to base my opinion on. TransAm is offering on their website, evidence that they are paying some rather sub-standard compensation rates for driver and lessors. 84 cents-per-mile? It's not hard to find a BUCK a mile out here, plus a full fuel surcharge program for every mile paid to the truck. Experienced company drivers can get a whopping 32 cents per mile to start off with....and that's not anything to get excited about either. Teams can start at 38 cents per mile? That's REALLY below par out here today. Fifty cents per mile is standard for teams in 2006.

    If the basic compensation is below par, then what else is likely off base as well? Are you even remotely aware of the average freight rate per mile as it stands today? This week, you are paying on average, somewhere in the range of $2.60 a gallon for fuel, and you're expecting me to believe that you are subsisting on .84 cents per mile plus some form of a fuel surcharge? So...who's truly making the money there, when all the relative expenses are ironed out and accounted for? You or the company?

    The standard in this industry used to be a 70/30 split, with the owner of the truck taking the larger portion. With the inception of lease/purchase plans, this has transformed to a 60/40 split in many cases, with the "owner" of the truck seeing the LESSER portion. Why anyone would set themselves up to feed the motor carriers prime rib and steak every day, and allow themselves to live on pinto beans and cornbread is beyond me.

    They pay no payroll taxes on you. They provide no benefits. You take on the lion's share of the expenses of operating the equipment, and they take a much larger share of the take than they ever could if you were a company driver. If you were to sit down and run the figures, and truly discover what your spendable income would be under both scenarios, you'd be extremely surprised at the results.

    Their site leaves out much more than it offers in the form of information, and if they were so proud of their program, that they would offer details of it on the site. It's always a red flag in my book when a company does not, and it always will be.

    AS FAR AS YOUR DETESTING STATEMENTS MADE BY OTHER PEOPLE MAYBE YOU SHOULD MAKE SURE OF THE POINT THEY ARE MAKING BEFORE DRAWING A CONCLUSION OF WHAT THEY ARE THINKING.
    Don't kid a kidder. But you stick to your story, because it speaks volumes just as it is. I think you could benefit from your own advice.

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  13. #10
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    NUMBER 1 I DONT HAVE TO CONVINCE YOU OF ANYTHING, I WAS REPLYING TO THE POINT THAT WEREWOLVE SAID IT WAS A SCAM, WHICH I DONT BELIEVE IT IS.

    NO.2 IF YOU THINK THAT I'M LOOKING DOWN MY NOSE AT ANY DRIVER THEN WE BOTH ALREADY KNOW WHERE YOUR HEAD IS AT.

    3 I DO KNOW FOR SURE, BECAUSE I'VE BEEN TO ROCKWALL, TX TO THE OLD HELWIG TERMINAL AND KNOW THAT MANY OF THE DRIVERS FOR HELWIG WHERE DISGRUNTLED TO SAY THE LEAST WHEN TRANS AM BOUGHT IT OUT. SO YES THERE WERE GRUDGES.

    MY WAY OF MAKING STATEMENTS MAY SEEM INFLAMMATORY TO YOU,WHICH FROM YOUR COMMENTS TO ME I CAN SEE WHY, BUT I JUST CALL IT THE WAY MY EYES AND EARS PICK IT UP IN THE RESTAURANTS. IF THATS INFLAMMATORY SO BE IT. I SEE NO EVIDENCE THAT BECAUSE ONE PARTY SAYS SO, THAT IS EVIDENCE. I DONT PARTICULARLY CARE HOW YOU FIND MY STATEMENTS. NEVER HAVE CARED ABOUT WHAT SOMEONE THOUGHT OF ME. I WAS MAKING STATEMENTS OF WHAT WAS VERBALLY STATED AT THE PLACES I WAS IN.

    AS FAR AS WHETHER WEREWOLVES STATEMENTS WERE TRUE OR NOT, I DON'T KNOW, I DID NOT SAY EITHER WAY, I SAID I DISAGREED WITH HIS STATEMENTS BASED ON WHAT I HAVE PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF THE PROGRAM.
    I WILL THOUGH CONTINUE TO MAKE STATEMENTS, INFLAMMATORY AS YOU MAY BELIEVE THEM TO BE AS LONG AS I HAVE MY OWN SIGHT AND HEARING THAT BRINGS ME TO THAT CONCLUSION. AS FAR AS MY PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT EVERY TRANS AM DRIVER DOES WE BOTH KNOW THAT AGAIN THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE. AGAIN MY STATEMENTS ARE BASED ON FACTS THAT ARE PERSONALLY KNOWN TO ME.YES THERE ARE TIMES YOU WAIT FOR LOADS, YES THERE ARE TIMES THAT YOU ARE WAITING TO DELIVER,YES THERE ARE PERFECTLY GOOD LEGITIMATE REASONS TO BE SITTING. BUT WHEN YOU GET BACK TO A COMPANY AND YOU HEAR ABOUT A DRIVER TURNING HIS TRUCK IN BECAUSE HE IS CONTINUALLY NOT MAKING THE MILES, WEEK AFTER WEEK THEN KNOWING TRANS AM AS WELL AS I DO YOU MAY JUST HAVE TO LOOK ELSEWHERE FOR THE PROBLEM. AND IM NOT BASING THAT ON EVERY COMPANY. I HAVE WORKED FOR SOME THAT WERE REALLY THE PITS. BUT BASICALLY TRANS AM HAS GOT GOOD PEOPLE TRYING TO GET YOU THE WORK YOU NEED TO MAKE A LIVING. NO WHILE YOU ARE PAYING FOR THE TRUCK YOU ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE A KILLING BUT YOU CAN MAKE A DECENT LIVING. AFTER ITS PAID YOU CAN MAKE MORE. WHATEVER YOU WANT TO BELIEVE OF ME, ALL MY POINTS BOIL DOWN TO TRANS AM IS A PRETTY DECENT COMPANY THAT DOES CARE ABOUTS ITS DRIVERS GIVEN THE CHANCE TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM. BY THE WAY I TOO BELONG TO OOIDA AND IF I DID HAVE A MAJOR PROBLEM WOULD NOT HESITATE TO TAKE IT TO THEIR LEGAL PEOPLE.

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