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Truck stop rage over parking limits

Truck stops are being forced to impose parking limits for on drivers who leave their trucks and trailers on site for more than 24 hours

By Greg Bush

Due to local councils increasingly prohibiting drivers from parking outside or on their properties, suburban truck stops have been forced to implement time limits on long term parking.

Margaret Farrow, manager of the Rocklea Shell Transport Terminal in Brisbane says she has requested drivers to park no longer than 24 hours at a time. While she says it is local drivers who take up most of the truck stop’s 68 parking spaces, the 24 hour limit applies to all, including long distance drivers.

“I was having a problem with tippers. They weren’t buying their fuel here, they won’t come into the shop; they won’t even buy a can of coke. But they wanted the space,” Farrow explains. “What they don’t realise is it’s private property with public access.”

While she says most drivers are obliging about the 24 hour limit, a recent disagreement with a north Queensland driver almost had dangerous consequences. The driver had wanted to park his prime mover, B-double and car on the grounds after being denied long-term parking at the nearby BP. When he was told that it was not possible, he attempted to hide his vehicles behind the shed of the on-site transport repairer.

“I was out there taking registrations to keep an eye on things, as I do, to keep it safe in here,” Farrow says. “I walked to the front of the truck, I made eye contact, and he let the clutch out to come at me. He came within an inch of me so I looked up, made eye contact again and stepped back. I continued to take his registration number and he came at me again.

“We’ve got nothing to hide here. Anybody can come down and see what goes on and talk to the drivers. He was just a troublemaker and then he tried to run me over.”

Farrow, who has been with Shell for 32 years, including managing the Rocklea Shell for more than five years, says she feels the 24 hours is fair as it enables drivers to take a ‘logbook break’.

At the nearby BP Archerfield truck stop, however, parking limits have been reduced to eight hours. According to NSW/Queensland Area Manager Shane Waters, signs were posted around the truck stop towards the end of 2008.

“Obviously there’s a few upset because they’d like to be able to leave their trucks, but the problem is a lot of the locals that don’t need to leave them around are probably the main culprits,” Waters says. “There’s still some that push the boundaries.”

Waters admits that local councils are partly to blame, prohibiting truck owners from parking their trucks near their homes, but he says the BP Archerfield is limited to 120 parking spots.

Waters says the BP Archerfield is not the only site with issues of drivers leaving their trucks parked. “A few of our stores in Melbourne have the same problem,” he says.

“I think in the past the drivers have been used to it, but now they’ve seen the signs. Last week a lady wanted to leave one here for three days and I said I couldn’t do it. But at least they’re asking, instead of just dumping and running.”

Waters says, for the most part, drivers are obliging and ” try to do the right thing”. “Then there’s those who always do the wrong thing and make it bad for everyone else.”

Photography: Greg Bush

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