My Swift Academy Journey. Will it be a swifty one or not?

Discussion in 'Swift' started by Six9GS, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Gamgee

    Gamgee Light Load Member

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    Great Sarcasm.
    I was thinking of going with this company. Not giving up on the dream.
    One question.
    Is there a pressure to "Lease to Own" at the end of your 6 month's training or 1st year with Swift?
    I have no intention of "buying" my own Tractor.
    Also.
    After talking to the Recruiter for Swift,(Whom was much more professional and very willing to answer all of my questions. - Did not put me down, demean, or intimidate me for asking a single question. Unlike that other company that nearly shut down this aspiration and goal forever.) After talking with the recruiter for Swift, I was told that the tuition for the classes was $6,000, - $45.00 a paycheck would be taken from my pay each paycheck. Which amounts to $2,000 paid off at the end of 1 year with Swift. - If I do 1 Year with Swift. They Eat the rest of the tuition. The "School loan" is wiped. Gone. Considered Paid.

    Does this sound correct?

    The recruiter promised me a lot over the phone as well.(After 4 weeks classes, 200 hours OTR with a trainer which amounted to approximately 1 and a half months OTR. ? - I could get a dedicated local route. - Home every night or weekend if that is what I wanted.)

    Of course I did not think of all the questions that I really need answered in this one interview. But. I must say. This recruiter had the people skills necessary as well as the professionalism and common sense courtesy when communicating.

    I am hoping for the best with Swift but any information that anyone can provide who has been through Swift's Academy and has worked with them for a year or preferably more - would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance. Hope you are rooting for me. I really do need a Fellowship at the start of the Journey and, on the road ahead.

    Gamgee
     
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  3. dptrucker

    dptrucker Road Train Member

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    No they don't pressure you.
    Never asked me to do lease but my dl ask if I want to.be a mentor lol. Said no... likely own space.
    As far as a dedicated route. Depends if there is one avaliable when you ask for one.
    Some require a good safety score and some want amount of experience.
     
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  4. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Hey folks. Finally have a chance for an update. We delivered a load to Nashville yesterday from Bakersfield area. Driving into Nashville last night was the most challenging driving I have ever done. It was dark, raining, construction, loaded and traffic. When we finally reached our destination and stopped, I had an overwhelming emotional release. Hard to describe, But my hands shook and and tears poured out like a baby. Wow, what an drive. But, I got us to where we needed to go without hurting anyone or damaging anything. I just took it slow (not so slow that I was a hazard to others) and easy and intensely focused on driving.
    Then, this evening we were heading East to Salt Lake City. Roads were smooth, traffic was light and it was an absolute pleasure driving. My mentor went to sleep in his bunk and I just had a wonderful zen of peace and tranquility. I just clocked the miles along and, it was just a pleasure to drive. Quite a contrast for the 2 evening's. I still have over 5 hours on my clock. We stopped and I was thinking it would just be to take my 30, but my mentor said we were shutting down for the day. Yep, I'm disappointed, but we will be able to deliver tomorrow and we don't have a next load yet. So, I'll accept his wisdom. I trust him. After having me drive last night, you'd think I would have doubts. But, he knew I was capable and he told me most of his trainees he would not have let drive through what we did. IDK. It is a feat I do not intend to repeat anytime soon. But, MIT definitely was a confidence builder overall.
    So far, my experience with Swift has been wonderful. All I have met have been great to me and I earnestly believe if one wants to develop the knowledge and skill to drive a rig, their program offers it. But, those that show up thinking Swift will spoon feed train them are gonna be disappointed. You have to put forth effort and allow yourself to embrace what they are teaching. I'm trying my best and so far it is all good.
    Thanks for your continued encouragement and support, it has helped and is appreciated.

    Till I get a chance for the next update, I hope all prosperity and safe travels!
     
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  5. Chraleple

    Chraleple Bobtail Member

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    Oct 19, 2019
    Virginia, USA
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    I'm proud you're achieving your goals but it sounds like you don't have a very good trainer. I wouldn't want my mentor going to sleep while I drive or not explaining scheduling to me and just having to "trust his wisdom" or getting a lot lizard while you're on board. Just seems like an unprofessional guy.
     
  6. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    I think my mentor is a mixed bag. Those things he, in my opinion, seems deficit on are things I am not too worried about being able to figure out. Where my mentor does excel is in his experience. He has been a mentor for over 16 years and really knows a lot from that length of experience that many mentors haven't quite figured out yet ( You only need to drive for 6 months before you can become a mentor and most mentors do not have the years of experience he has). Things I am learning from his experience have to do with which loads to accept and which to reject and strategies for finding truck parking outside of the big Flying J, Pilot and Love's lots that often get filled up. Stuff that really only come from hard gained experience. So, overall, I'm fine with my mentor. No mentor is gonna be perfect. BTW, no lot lizard crap or pee bottles and that sort of stuff from him.

    Anyway, I am on home-time. He had some family stuff planned awhile back, so this has been scheduled for awhile. I only have about 19 hours left to finish. We had hoped to knock it out before his home-time, but it didn't happen. I go back tomorrow morning and it should only take us 2 or 3 days to finish up my time, depending on how our loads go. Then, I test out and get my own truck. My biggest weakness is probably backing and maneuvering the trailer where I want it to be. But, that is just gonna take time and more practice. I have been doing the majority of our backings and maneuverings already, he is not hogging that from me. And, I'm probably about as proficient as most are at this point anyway (My mentor says I'm much better than he was at this point and I'll do fine. I'll get better and more confident as I continue to drive and park). Otherwise, I think I'm about as ready as I need to be and I'm sure I'll probably have some, oh crap, what do I do know, moments in the future. But, Swift, so far, has had pretty good support and aid, so I figure whatever I end up getting myself into, I'll be as able to get myself through as anyone who is similarly experienced. I have 2 HOS violations so far, but I call BS on them and having issues with the Comdata terminal regarding both of them. One is for 11 hours and 4 minutes of drive time and another for 8 hours and 44 minutes without the 30 minute off-duty break. I won't go into the details, but the errors were more with the Comdata terminals than with me. Lesson learned, watch the #### Comdata like a hawk!!!! It lies, doesn't update when you update it, etc. Anyway, I've talked with the folks that matter regarding these issues and they aren't making a fuss over them, other than to re-enforce what I've already figured out, watch the dang Comdata terminal like a hawk and make sure it logs things correctly!!!
    My biggest problem so far is simply that it sucks having to work again. My situation allowed me to take about a year and a half basically off-work. It really was a nice personal sabbatical and was muchly needed. But, it was only temporary and I knew at some point I'd have to start working again. That time has come and I'd really prefer to stay lazy and at home watching TV and putzing around with whatever I wanted to. But, a new chapter has begun and I must work again. No problem driving a truck for a living, especially since I get to go traipsing around the U.S. Just a problem actually working again.

    I'm anxious about what truck I get. It has been a mixed bag so far with others from the Academy I got to know. Some ended up with literally brand-new trucks and some with fairly high mileage older ones. It seems to be just the luck of the draw. I have asked for a Volvo. I'm in a 2017 Kenworth now, which I like except for the placement of the Engine Brake controls. Numerous times, I've ended up turning off the traction control instead of turning on the Engine Brake. I've also been spoiled by being in an Owner/Operator truck instead of a company truck. As an Owner/Operator we have a higher governed speed, fuel when and where we want, take whatever route we want to take and idle the truck whenever we want. I'm not looking forward to a slower truck, being told what route you have to take, where you have to get fuel and when you can idle your truck or not. But, it's the deal and I'll just have to deal with it. All the other company drivers do and they seem to survive just fine. Guess I probably will too!!! However, it has been a huge incentive for me to think about getting my own truck someday. That decision is way too far down the line to consider at the moment. But, I have been shown some of those advantages.

    Anyway, sorry it took so long for an update. Things are well. Thanks to this forum, I'm not running into any significant problems. My expectations have been pretty much where they needed to be and that was gained from reading the many many posts from so many others. Several of the other students I attended the Academy with are complaining about stuff that that I already knew could happen and I've expected.

    Thanks and I'll let you guys know what truck I end up with and how it goes from here. So far, thumbs up!!!
     
  7. dptrucker

    dptrucker Road Train Member

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    Comdata is your fuel card lol.
    Must mean Qualcomm
     
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  8. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    And the Qualcom is nearly 100% ELD now, so it is very important to watch it like a hawk.
    We can't move around like we did before with off duty or on duty status, it will go to the drive line very quickly. All it takes is a change of gear.

    "I have 2 HOS violations so far, but I call BS on them and having issues with the Comdata terminal regarding both of them. One is for 11 hours and 4 minutes of drive time and another for 8 hours and 44 minutes without the 30 minute off-duty break. I won't go into the details, but the errors were more with the Comdata terminals than with me."

    Nope. Those were your errors, unless you provide the details that show otherwise.
    That device records everything as it happens. If it shows over 11 hours of drive time, then you were moving the truck for more than 11 hours in that shift.
    And 44 minutes past the 8 hour limit? Please!
    Maybe you just need to learn how it works, and deal with it.
     
  9. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Well, I didn't provide the details that show otherwise in my post, but I did provide them to the safety and other folks that matter in this. Our Qualcom has been glitching on us and randomly locking up and we have had other hos inaccuracies that haven't caused violations. My mentor and I suspect our specific qualcom unit is having hardware or software errors and may need to be replaced. Also, my mentor has been having hos errors too, just none that have caused any hos violations. Most errors can be corrected, to a degree. But, hos violations create flags that aren't able to be edited and fixed in the truck. I haven't heard anything about Swift fixing or replacing our qualcom unit as of yet. But, we have started taking pictures of our hos screen whenever we make updates (things like switch from on duty to sleeper berth) so in case we have further errors we can show we were operating properly but our unit didn't update correctly.
    And, sorry for calling the qualcom a comdata. Rookie mistake, get away from the truck for a couple of days and I have to relearn everything. Lol.
     
  10. Moosetek13

    Moosetek13 Road Train Member

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    My QC has problems as well.
    Right now the buttons don't work.
    I have an error from over a month ago. It went away for a couple weeks, and now it's back. Same date and time, and I wonder why?

    This QC unit is a replacement for one that was faulty over a year ago, and most of the same problems persist.
    I don't think these things actually get fixed when they are turned in. They are only put into different trucks.
    Hopefully I won't get pulled in to an inspection when it is glitching.
    But I have learned to deal with it.

    I'm wondering how autonomous trucks will ever work, when even these 'state of the art' QC units can't seem to get things right.
    A string of trucks depending on the lead unit to guide them. And if the thing glitches out... what then?
    The 'sitting in' driver has about one second to respond.
    Good luck with that.
     
  11. Six9GS

    Six9GS Road Train Member

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    Got back on the road today. During my hometime, a new (to us) qualcomm unit was installed in our truck. Hope that fixes our problems. We got a load from Phoenix to Corpus Christi TX. Hopefully we can get a load right back to Phoenix, because this trip should give me the hours I need to complete my Mentored training. All's good. We are in Anthony TX for the night. It is the 4th time, while I have been with my mentor that we have stayed here. Hey, it's a good place and they always seem to have parking.
    I'm a Lord of the Rings fan and to the West of this spot is a little hill/mountain that reminds me, almost, or Erebor, the lonely mountain, from The Hobbit. I'm weird.
     
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