I just quite with Transport Corporation of America (Transport America or TA.) after 3-1/2 years. I have a total of 19 years experience of driving trucks. I have never been able to recommend Transport America, but I have to say that it's not the worse place to work. What you experience with this company depends upon which TA terminal you work out of, and which dispatcher that you have. In my case, I worked out of a good terminal (North Liberty, IA). And I have had both good and bad dispatchers. I quit because of a bad one.
The good points:
- You have a right to be home every 2 weeks for 2 full days if that is what you want. (But you often have to stand-up for that right.)
- The pay is reasonable.
- You get paid for layovers and detention.
- All miles are paid at the same rate.
- You choose your own route on a load.
- It is not a Forced-Dispatch company (Even though many dispatchers will try to force you to take loads.)
- Many people in the company will go out of their way to accommodate drivers.
- Good insurance plan (Not great though. I go to the VA and they won't pay the VA for my prescriptions even though they claim that they will pay for perscriptions. They say that the VA pharmacy does not meet their requirements. They do pay for my physicals at the VA though. Just not the prescriptions. TA is a self-insured company.)
- Drivers from the North-Eastern USA will like the idea of getting home often. This is the main area for TA freight.
- West Coast drivers will like the fact that TA purchased Southern Cal a couple of years ago and now runs the West Coast too.
The Down side (And there are more downsides then good sides.)
- You sometimes have to demand your home time, even though the company guarantees it.
- Many of the dispatchers and other people in the office don't know the D.O.T. Regulations (Or they ignore them.)
- Many Planners and dispatchers in the office don't seem to understand the time that a trip requires. (Not all of them, but many of them.)
- Pay is from area to area. (I have see trips where my pay was 150 miles short of the actual miles. And I had taken the shortest route. Also the shortest route may be using a toll road. If that toll road is not authorized, you won't be able to use it. If you do, then the company will take the toll fee out of your pay.)
- PrePass is in each truck, but you are restricted on which toll roads you can use.(If you end up on the wrong toll road, the toll fee comes out of your pay.)
- While this company runs 48 states, most of their loads are in the North-Eastern part of the USA.
- Most loads are day loads or less. Loads of 100 miles or less are common. (They pickup the loads which most companies and owner-operators turn down.)
- Dispatchers often expect drivers to sleep at a shipper's or receiver's.
- There is a lack of understanding that a driver needs food and showers (or even rest).
- Drivers are expected to often drive from the early hours and all day one day, then drive all night the next. Or a driver may be starting his day at 04:00 AM, deliver at 13:00 (1:00 PM), then be expected to take a 10 hour break and run all night. (Regular rest is not a consideration. Sleep Apnea is probably common in the company.)
- Loads are often scheduled for delivery to a receiver (Consignee) at the end of a driver's day, without consideration for time a driver may need to get to someplace where the truck can be legally parked.
- Loads are scheduled through construction areas, high traffic areas, and 2-lane roads with reduced speed limits, at nearly maximum speed of the truck. (Loads are almost always scheduled by the TA planners and dispatchers at nearly the maximum speed of the truck.)
- The trucks are governed at 62 MPH.
- The company sends you a PrePlan, which your supposed to approve before they drop the load on you. But often the load is dropped on you right after you just start to view the PrePlan.
- Loads are often held in the office by planners and dispatchers (sometimes for several days) until the last possible second so that the driver has to rush to make the delivery on time. (Without time for food or showers.) If the driver is late, it is charged against him.
- If they drop a load on the truck while the driver is home (And driver doesn't even know about the load.), they still charge the driver for missing the load. The same applies when a driver is short on hours and can't run a load legally. (They will dispute this, but it's a fact.)
- I come back to the idea that many (if not most) of the dispatchers and planners don't even know the D.O.T. regulations. They feel that the regs are strictly a driver responsibility. (In the last few weeks, I had began sending the FMCSR paragraph locations of the regulations since my dispatcher didn't know them.)
- Transport America employees many drivers who have recently became truck drivers. I was surprised when talking with a few of the instructors and found that they also lacked a complete knowledge of the D.O.T. Regs.
- Transport America drifts on and off of the D.O.T. Watch Program with their CSA score.
- Transport America offers Internet service to all drivers. Yet the Transport America IT department has the bandwidth cut back so that it is nearly unusable at most locations.
Many of the bad things mentioned above will vary, depending on which dispatcher that you have. But what I mentioned above is most common. I quit Transport America because of a dispatcher dispute. But there are also many good people working for this company.
Joining this company is like going to Las Vegas to gamble. You may win, or you may not.