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The lack of drivers keeps the Orlando trucking company in a low gear

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ORLANDO, Florida – About a dozen semi-trailers and trailers stood this week outside Inland Transport, an Orlando-based freight service that ships rigs and cargo across the United States

What you need to know

  • Orlando-based Inland Transport claims to have 30 trucks but only 16 drivers
  • The company says it offers higher pay but is still not getting applicants
  • Lyft and Uber are also offering incentives as vaccinations and demand increase

Domestic worker Bob Tkachuk selected a yellow truck that was hidden in a group of four people.

“It has an engine problem,” he said. “We just don’t have to fix it because we don’t have a driver.”

Homeowner Stan Rudnitsky pointed to a truck near this.

“The same problem since last March,” he said. “No driver.”

Inland Transport says it continues to grapple with reported nationwide driver bottlenecks that have disrupted various transport sectors, including ride-sharing platforms Uber and Lyft.

Rudnitsky said this week his company employed 16 drivers for a fleet of 30 trucks. He also said he saw no sign that those 14 empty taxis would be full anytime soon.

“I’ve had trucks without a driver for over a year,” he told Spectrum News 13. “I’ve never seen that before. Never in my life have I seen so many ‘now attitude’ signs. “

Attitude of employers to unemployment benefits

The trucking industry has been lamenting driver shortages for years, but especially in recent months amid claims by companies, including domestic transport, that workers prefer unemployment benefits to work.

Ridesharing company Lyft also suggested earlier this month when CEO Logan Green said on a conference call on its first quarter results that the federal unemployment benefit additions “clearly” had an impact on “the entire ridesharing industry.”

Restaurants and other businesses hold the same stance. This comes with the support of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose government announced last week that starting Jan.

Meanwhile, reports show that some workers are afraid or afraid to return to work due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. A February report by the Pew Research Center also found that 66% of adults surveyed have been seriously considering changing jobs since they became unemployed.

When it comes to truck drivers, health authorities have long emphasized risks and health effects.

The driver shortage is reportedly disrupting the supply chain, including gas, making it harder to find a lift from Lyft or Uber, leading to higher prices.

Like Uber and Lyft, Orlando-based Inland Transport says it’s hard to find drivers and offers incentives. Here’s a look at the company’s facility, which includes idle trucks, cargo for pickup, and a workshop that holds trucks in no rush to be serviced. pic.twitter.com/q6svI05LY2

– Pete Reinwald, News 13 (@petereinwald) May 28, 2021

Uber and Lyft recognize the need for more drivers and emphasize incentives. This comes amid reports that some drivers are looking for better deals.

Without referring to a driver shortage, an Uber spokesman said in an email to Spectrum News this week, “As more people get vaccinated and exercise, Orlando drivers use the Uber app more. To meet this recurring surge in demand, we are investing in the return of drivers who are an integral part of the community and help get the city moving again. “

A Lyft spokesperson also told Spectrum News, “We’re seeing a sharp surge in demand for travel as vaccines roll out and people get moving again. We’re working to meet demand, including providing incentives for drivers who are busy and earn more than they did before the pandemic. “

The Uber spokesman said the company temporarily “increased revenue in Orlando so that drivers who work at least 20 hours a week typically earn $ 24.14 an hour.”

Rudnitsky, the owner of Inland Transport, suggested that he consider some Uber drivers as potential domestic drivers.

“I spoke to a lot of people years ago when this Uber thing got there,” he said. “They said, ‘Articulated lorries driving mechanics; I’m going to be an Uber driver and make about the same amount of money. ‘ Two months later they are demanding their job back. “

‘No calls’ despite incentives

Tkachuk, who is recruiting drivers for the company, said Domestic is now offering drivers transporting within Florida up to $ 1,000 a week instead of $ 800 a week. Unlike truck drivers who are on the road for days, Florida drivers spend their evenings at home.

“And no calls,” he said.

For drivers who transport outside the state, the company has increased the payment from 48 cents per mile to up to 54 cents per mile. That suggests a driver could make more than $ 600 on a one-way trip from Orlando to Chicago, which takes about 18 hours. The company also offers bonuses for every delivery and pickup, he said.

“And they just don’t get in,” Tkachuk said of the applicants.

Rudnitsky said his company received up to ten calls a day from potential applicants, two or three of whom would appear for an interview.

“Now we don’t even get a call for a day,” he said.

Rudnitsky said he followed his father’s trucking business and started Inland Transport, which has been in Orlando since 2007.

His company now has a repair department that maintains his trucks and those of other people and companies.

One of the bays housed an inland truck tractor with a half-ripped engine. Since the truck did not have a driver, the company thought an overhaul would make sense.

Domestic employee Yuri Mazun said he felt that some drivers were “willing to go elsewhere and find the highest paying job.”

“They just hop from company to company because they know drivers are in demand,” he said.

Increased demands from drivers

Inland’s recruiter, Tkachuk, told Spectrum News about truck owners saying drivers charge salaries of up to $ 3,000 a week, requiring the company to pay their monthly car payments and their sleeping cabins with televisions and gaming machines equips.

As for truckers staying in place, domestic driver Yoandry Labraba told Spectrum News, “I worked for (Domestic) before the pandemic and I was fine.”

When asked about the impact on his business, owner Rudnitsky said: “Of course you still have insurance costs to bear and depreciation – trucks are standing. Hopefully it’s not a long-term thing, and it’s been long enough.

“Simply put, people in this country have to go back to work. That doesn’t help anyone. “

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Janet Smith