After being an owner-operator for three decades, Trevor Franklin, 50, de-registered his trusty Ford Louisville because of the big fuel price increase and got a job working for a boss.
“The price rise was the reason and I would have been struggling to make a decent living. So I parked the Louisville in my shed even though I had spent a considerable amount on it,” Franklin told Big Rigs.
At the time, Franklin said diesel was around $2.30 per litre at most outlets in his area, which made it difficult for owner-operators to make a reasonable living.
“We don’t know how long the war in Ukraine will go on for so fuel prices may be high for a long time so I opted to get a job,” he said.
Franklin was busy tending to his trailers so I snapped his picture and agreed to phone him later in the day when he had a break.
He said he started work recently for Mount Isa Metal Recyclers and drives a Freightliner Coronado.
“I do two trips a week from Mount Isa with scrap metal for delivery to Townsville and really like this job. The company keep the maintenance up on their trucks and the boss Bob Granville is a fair and decent man,” he said.
Franklin had stopped at the Lights on the Hill Roadhouse on the outskirts of Hughenden, 390km from the coast, when I spoke to him later in the day.
“It is a good place to stop here,” he said.
As for rest areas, Franklin thinks there are enough for trucks to stop at on their trips.
“You just have to plan where you will stop. But I do think there could be another road train pad around Townsville,” he said.
I asked Franklin to nominate the worst road he has travelled on recently and he mentioned that many drivers on the route he now does regularly opted for the Hughenden to Richmond section of the Flinders Highway.
“I reckon the section of the Bruce Highway between Rockhampton north to Carmila is bad. I went along it recently and it is not that good,” he said.
The first truck Franklin drove professionally was a single cabover MAN but before that he did learn about the industry from his dad.
Life is very good presently for Franklin who lives at rural Oak Valley, just west of Townsville.
“I am enjoying working for a good boss after having been an owner-operator for more than 30 years. Life has changed but I am so happy to get the opportunity to get this job,” he said.