Operators speak out on hot industry topics
By ABA Media
The Insider recently posed the following industry questions to several ABA member motorcoach operators: Now that the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate is in effect, has your company experienced any issues with installation or training? Is there anything you’ve learned that you’d like to share with other ABA members?
Here is what our members had to say:
“We have struggled a bit with the installation and implementation, but we are embracing the technology. We now have a dedicated person who is looking over the logs, GPS records, and driver performance. While it’s in its infancy, we are starting to see where this is going to really help us harness the technology to make our operation run more efficiently.”
—Dan Martin, General Manager
“Southeastern Stages has actually been utilizing ELDs since late 2012. We elected to adopt ELDs because we felt strongly that the technology was going to be critical to our efforts to more actively manage our fleet and mobile workforce. Since we were early to adopt the technology, we did experience a number of growing pains and development issues, but we were able to work closely with our product provider to deploy updates and integrate a number of unique features and functions that remain valuable to our organization.
“Installation, deployment, and training were all fairly smooth for us mostly because we were not operating under any time constraints or implementation deadlines. We quickly identified several of our regular trips that needed to be changed/shortened so that they could be completed without any concern for the driver’s hours of service. In fact, a number of our drivers reported that they now have even more available driving/duty time as a result of the more accurate recording of their time.
“ELDs have taken the guesswork out of our dispatch office. We know exactly where every driver is currently and can more accurately forecast where they will be in the future based on the data being collected by our telematics system. Managing our compliance has also become streamlined, and the technology allows us to spend more time supporting our drivers and less time managing the paperwork.”
—Brian Parker, Director of Development
Southeastern Stages Inc.
“We have had multiple issues and concerns with third-party installers who have been hired by our ELD company to install these devices on our motorcoaches. Not only do these third-party installers lack experience with motorcoaches, but what motorcoach company has time to wait for 30 or more days for someone to inspect a malfunctioned unit, then report back to the ELD company that a new part is needed, and then wait another 30 or more days to have the unit replaced?
“Smaller transportation companies without their own shops may experience these types of problems and should go with a reputable ELD company that specializes in motorcoaches. We find it’s best to hire one company that provides ELDs, Wi-Fi, and cameras. Saucon Technologies seems to be one of the best in the motorcoach industry in our area.”
—Michael Faulkner, President
Cape Fear Transportation
“Indian Trails was an early adopter of ELDs, having first implemented them back in 2009. The system gives us much more intelligence than we had before to better manage our day-to-day operations, plus all of the added benefits of a GPS-integrated system.”
—Chad Cushman, Vice President
Indian Trails Inc.
“We started implementation almost two years before the mandate. The first system we tried was a nightmare. The new one we are using is simple, easy, and convenient.”
—Jodi Merritt, President
H & L Charter Co. Inc.
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.