As Christine Thiel has discovered, it seems size does matter when it comes to using roadhouse facilities, with some adopting a ‘no truck, no shower approach’. A pilot driver for over 10 years, Thiel has been turned away from using facilities at numerous roadhouses because “she’s not a truckie”.
Thiel believes the standard of many roadhouses has deteriorated over the past decade, and even more so since the onset of COVID. “Truckies and pilot drivers deserve better. I think the roadhouses don’t realise how much the drivers and pilot drivers depend on these places for a shower and home style meal,” she said. “Some bend over backwards to provide the best facilities, and the drivers appreciate it. Long days on the road, driving from sunrise to sunset, can be refreshed by a shower and a meal at a friendly roadhouse or truck stop.
“Pilot drivers should never have to beg for access to showers and facilities such as washing machines and the truckies’ lounge. I have had showers at caravan parks, for a small fee, dropped into the key box. One caravan park recently refused to allow me to have a shower. I offered to pay a few dollars, but the manager told me, ‘we don’t sell showers’,” she said.
“Heavy haulage transport and the pilot driver profession are co-dependent operators. Heavy haulage depends on pilot vehicle drivers. Pilot vehicle drivers don’t have work without heavy haulage.”