CRST / Stranded in California
DO NOT GOTO THIS COMPANY!! The school part of it was terrific, Kirkwood Community College was terrific, and the orientation and the trainers in orientation although egotistical, some of them, were very proffesional and get you the tools needed to drive 18 wheeler. Unfortunately the companies level of professionalism stops there..
As I write this, they have me stranded in Fontana California miles away from my vehicle in Iowa, Now I met many bad attitude drivers in my time with the school and the orientation, so let me clear the air in the fact I was not, am not one of them.. Read on to learn more..
After being assigned a "Lead Driver" the person responsible for your next 28 days of driving, I was dispatched by Greyhound bus to Nashville Tn, to meet with him. I chose to rent a car at my own expense, both for time, and for personal safety and reliability. I met with my driver at a truck stop, and instantly upon seeing the truck, which is his thru the owner op program they have, it was gong to be a long trip, but I had prepared myself mentally for this by accepting certain people in this profession is why the industry has the stigmata of dirty truck drivers.. So I get into the bacteria crusted vehicle and load my stuff up.. The "lead driver" jokes that he had just had a lot lizard in the truck, and the smell in there confirmed my suspicion that it was a brag, and not a joke.. The next morning we take off to finish his load that he has in the trailer, and are then dispatched by our condescending dispatch, lets just call him Phil, to pick up another load and head to Florida. We get just south of Atlanta, Ga, when we call it a night, and he wants to go to a particular truckstop in Jackson, Ga, because it has a bar, and he knows some "women" there.. While we are there we find that there is a truck headed to where we were in Florida, so we are told to relay the load and head to Atlanta to pick up another headed to North Carolina.. He wants to hang out untill the next day in Jackson because he had been drinking all day and the night before, but I am eager to get the load to where we need to be, so that is our first argument. We pick up the load in Atlanta, where he has a fued with what he refers to as "his people" meaning black, and that I am white, so I can not comment on it.. I drive my 10 hours to our destination to deliver the load the following morning, and we are dispatched again, also again to his dismay, to California. He was wanting to turn down the load and hold out for one going thru Alabama and Texas so he could see more of his "people" while passing thru. The entire time I drove he would sit there talking on the phone, or in the back sleeping. My driving skills were such that after 2 days, which by his own admission, were such that we would be classified as Team Drivers, instead of student. I handled all the tasks put upon me, and drove my entire shifts while stopping only for a 15 minute break for days on end. He would drive for 4-5 then wake me up either by his reckless driving and constant stabbing of the brakes, or by slamming things around to get me up to come keep him company while he drove. All the while lambasting the company " CRST" while driving.. He stated many of the other companies he drove for, and pointed out how and why each one was better than this one, and even offered to give me contact names to use as references, should i decide to change companies.. We arrive in california after I had driven all night, roughly 650 miles, and I went to sleep. 3 hours later I am awoken again when I am tossed out of the bunk by his driving and encroaching on other vehicles infornt of him, he prefers the 1 second following distance, and heavy use of the brakes.. We deliver our load and pick up another headed to Florida.. I drive 5 hours out from Fontana, and decide it is not safe for me to continue driving without coffee and something to eat.. Hoping that some food will give me the fuel needed to continue. Once I fill his truck up with fuel I proceed to drive out of the fuel pumps and park to run into the truckstop to get some wendy's.. At the most 10 minutes.. He pokes his head out from the bunk area, and starts screaming that this is not the time to take a break, and to either get going down the road, or get the " [censored]" out of "his" truck. I calmly say ok, and call dispatch. I speak to a manager, Dave Turner, who politely and proffesionally makes me feel assured that everything is fine, and that once they rescue the load, I will ride with this lead driver back to Fontana to meet up with a new lead driver. I check into a hotel for the night, and upon waking back up my truck is gone.. Thank God I had the foresight to get all of my belongings out of the truck beforehand! Now I am stranded in Ehrenburg, AZ and have to take a taxi to Blythe, then a Greyhound bus back to Fontana, future unknown.. I talk to my dispatcher, Phil, who has been nothing but condescending since I called and introduced myself to him on day one. I have to follow up, which means 33 minutes on hold on the phone, to get my confirmation number for the bus, which he said he ould call back and give me.. At this point I just know I am headed to Fontana, thats all the info given.. Upon getting to the bus terminal in San Bernadino, Ca, I pay someone I was on the bus with $25 to give me a ride to the yard, only to find out once getting here, I could have not spent the money, and the hotel would have came to get me.. I had no idea what hotel they use here, but I guess that was my fault due to no telepathic ability.. I sit here in Fontana now for 4 days, unpaid, which is only a measly $50 a day while going thru the 28 day program, stranded. Im sitting at a picnic table, waiting for my mother to open my new credit card so I can book a flight home, as since I have technically "quit" I have been told repeatedly I am on my own.
Now I understand some people may have had positive experiences with this company, but after being around the yard here, and in Iowa, no single driver has had a single good thing to say about this company, period... Beware if you choose this company, as you more than likely may end up in this same situation.. I was fortunate to have money as a back up, as this whole expierence to date has cost me almost $4700 for my girlfriend and I.. Nothing is free, and nothing was cheap.. Goodluck, and beware
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