After months of educating truckies on the benefits of parking their dollies at the front of the busy breakdown pads, unofficial Gatton sheriff Wes Walker says the message is finally getting through.
On a recent drive into the Queensland facility, he was thrilled to see more than 20 dollies in a neat, orderly line in the section he’s been steering drivers to, rather than have them randomly dumped around the site, taking up valuable trailer space.
“Parking has improved immensly,” Walker said. “I only counted nine [dollies] down the back but well over 20 up the front.”
“If TMR would just do the correct thing and put lines there it would make it easier for the men and women and we could get a lot more in there, up the front.”
Walker also reiterated his call for a 48-hour time limit on parking at the site.
Run properly, Walker believes the Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) has an opportunity to make the pads an example for others to follow around Australia.
“What they’ve got to understand is that there are more people using this facility than what was using them.
“They claim it is only running at 70 per cent capacity, but they need to go there on a Friday night, or Sunday night/Monday morning to really see how that show operates – it’s a shit fight.”
Walker says the main issues stem from some operators using the facility has a depot, “hogging” the in-demand Friday and Sunday night spaces.
“When you’ve got people using it as yard, with their trailers there for four or five days, that’s when it becomes a pain in the arse.
“If they just time-limited it and worked with me [it could be different]. I’d notify them of a trailer that’s been there too long and then they’d send them [the registered owner] an email saying they’ve got two hours to move it, or we get it towed out at your expense.”
Walker estimates that about 20 per cent of the trailers at the site at any one time have overstayed their welcome.
“That’s a big hog,” he said.
Walker says at least one major national operator has changed its practice of leaving trailers there on Friday and not moving them again until Monday since he began lobbying the company’s drivers.
“From Friday lunch time until 6am on Monday they were hogging room at the worst time of the week,” Walker said.
“They [the drivers] just said no to the boss, we’re not doing it anymore. We’re the people getting yelled at.
“Now they just run back in and back out on Monday morning. I really appreciate the boys doing that, they listened.”
A TMR spokesperson told Big Rigs it monitors the operation of the Gatton Heavy Vehicle Decoupling Facility (GHVDF) via CCTV.
“CCTV monitoring confirms self-regulated parking is operating as expected, with no need for additional line marking or enforcement measures,” the spokesperson said.
“There are normal peaks and troughs, and recent monitoring indicates the facility is operating at about 70 per cent capacity.
TMR said the layout was designed based on feedback from heavy vehicle operators, and initially built with 30 marked parking bays for trailers.
The facility was extended in August 2021 with an ancillary parking area on the southern side.
“We encourage users to show courtesy to others when using the GHVDF by not using the facility as a long-term trailer/dolly parking area.”