What Do You See?
By Tom O’Brien, President & CEO
In the past several years, TA and Petro locations have made improvements big and small for drivers in response to their changing needs and their suggestions. We added variety to our menus, so that drivers weren’t faced with the same dining choices day after day, region after region. We’ve expanded the StayFit program to help drivers make healthy choices on the road. We offer Buy Big & Save items in our store and added Members Only Pricing for drivers, so drivers can buy in bulk, save money and cut down on shopping time. We’ve added truck service bays, installed faster diesel pumps and made cleanliness in the showers and restrooms a top priority. We’ve installed diesel exhaust fluid at the island faster than our competition, and we’ve led the way for the travel center industry on driver health and wellness, as well as ways of making your life on the road a little bit easier, a little bit faster and a LOT more appreciated.
I’m proud to say that the customer feedback we get these days tells me that we are getting it mostly right. Drivers are telling us that they have come to expect exceptional service from TA and Petro, and that they have come to expect friendly faces, helpful staff, sparkling clean restrooms, good food and opportunities to eat right, exercise and relax.
At our most recent Drivers Council at the Mid-America Trucking Show, I again talked to drivers about what we are planning for the future, and then asked them if they think we’ve got it right, whether we need to adjust the direction we are headed, or whether we’ve completely missed the boat. Sometimes we hear that what we are planning is good, but not as good as something else drivers need. And we adjust our plans when we hear that.
TravelCenters of America is a big, public company. We have a lot of people keeping track of what’s happening at our locations and reporting back to me and others at our national headquarters when concerns arise. Driver feedback is our most important gauge of whether we are accomplishing our goals and focusing on the needs of our customers. Whether you post to our Facebook pages, send us a tweet, call our customer service line, or talk directly with our location management, we pay attention to your concerns. While we are striving to make your job a little more successful and your life on the road a little more enjoyable, acting on your feedback has helped make us a stronger, better company. Some companies take customer feedback and they create “marketing campaigns” out of it — what a joke! Tell us what’s on your mind — we take your feedback seriously and we take action.
Your Name Here
In the trucking world, there are hundreds of stories of drivers who are true role models, and TravelCenters of America wants to recognize them. The Citizen Driver award was created to recognize drivers who evoke public respect for the driving profession. Anyone can nominate a driver for the award using a form now available on the company’s website (www.ta-petro.com).
Citizen Driver winners will be announced in March 2014 and honored at a special event in Louisville, Ky., during the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show. Each will have their favorite TA or Petro travel center named after them. Additional prizes will be awarded to nominees and finalists.
More features have been added to the TruckSmart® app from TA and Petro, including the ability to create a “favorites” list of locations, and easy Reserve-It Parking Reservation with the touch of a button. Amenities icons can be pressed to show more detailed descriptions and guests can see the local Hometown Favorites prepared by Iron Skillet and TA restaurants. If you have not downloaded TruckSmart yet, get it free for iPhone and Android smartphones. For other platforms, access the app with an HTML5 browser at www.trucksmartapp.com.
Get Moving • StayFit
As more drivers get motivated to change unhealthy habits and lead a healthier life, TA and Petro continue to find ways to help, and introduced Get Moving • StayFit in March. The fitness program was developed in cooperation with the President’s Challenge, the premier program of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Tailored specifically for truck drivers, the program is based on the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) program.
Over the course of eight weeks, Get Moving • StayFit asks drivers to commit to 30 minutes of physical activity a day for at least five days a week, or to wear a pedometer and log 8,500 steps a day. It encourages them to focus on a weekly nutritional goal to exercise and eat healthy. They can then record their activity at an UltraONE kiosk and earn a virtual apple for each week completed.
Drivers who complete six of the eight weeks of the Challenge can redeem their apples for StayFit
prizes and those who complete Get Moving • StayFit will earn a unique embroidered TA & Petro PALA patch.
More than 60 people participated in the Health Awareness Walk at MATS, including TA President and CEO Tom O’Brien and Senior Technical Trainer Homer Hogg. TA and Petro sponsors the annual event with the Trucking Solutions Group, encouraging truckers to take steps to improve their health.
THE 1,000th DEF Bulk Dispenser was installed within the TA and Petro network of travel centers recently, solidifying the company’s goal to offer truck drivers the most efficient and speedy fueling process on the highway.
The COBRA 29 LTD Pro Pack, an external speaker and mic holder combination, is the newest item to be offered exclusively at TA and Petro Travel Stores.