PACCAR and Toll have joined forces to help truck drivers overcome fatigue with a $1.3 million driver interchange facility in Dubbo, NSW, one of the busiest transport hubs in regional Australia.
The purpose-built facility is the brainchild of Cliff Swane, Managing Director of Inland Truck Centres and Toll Linehaul & Fleet Services, a part of Toll Group.
The facility adjoins Mr Swane’s Dubbo dealership in River Street, just off the Newell Highway.
The Toll Linehaul Drivers’ Interchange site comprises 6800 sqm of land, which includes an expansive yard that can accommodate a number of B doubles, and provides access for future B triples and roadtrains.
The 400 sqm complex features 24 sound-proofed bedrooms, which are air-conditioned and individually fire-proof rated. Amenities include a meals room, fully-appointed kitchen, a recreation room and outside barbecue area. There is also a first aid room, laundry as well as male and female toilets, showers and change rooms.
In addition, the premises is manned 24/7 by an on-site manager. An operations room is equipped with fleet satellite tracking screens, and integrated security and communications systems. Also, safety cameras monitor the entire property, and access to the yard, building and strategic indoor areas requires a security swipe card.
Toll Linehaul has a long-term lease on the property. Its 180 trucks, which stop over every week in Dubbo, now park at the new premises. Drivers can rest, sleep and change over trucks in a safe, secure and comfortable environment.
General Manager of Toll Linehaul and Fleet Services Bob Lovf said Dubbo was the logical choice for the company’s first dedicated drivers’ interchange.
“Dubbo has traditionally been a change-over point for long-haul drivers, because it is roughly half-way between various interstate routes,” he said.
Dubbo is situated at the crossroads of three major thoroughfares – the Mitchell, Newell and Golden Highways. More than 1500 trucks a day pass through the city on these highways, heading north to Brisbane and northern Queensland, south to Melbourne, east to Sydney and Newcastle, and west to Mildura and Adelaide.
Approximately 550 long-haul heavy vehicles stop over in the city each week to comply with fatigue management laws. Most operators park their rigs on the side of the highways, and either sleep in their cabs or in local motels and rented houses. If they sleep in town, they need to disconnect their trailers and leave them by the highways, so that they can park their prime movers in the city streets.
“Our drivers used to do the same,” Mr Lovf said. “There were no facilities in Dubbo to do changeovers – it was all done on the side of the highway and it was potentially an accident waiting to happen. And, if drivers slept in their cabs, there was a lot of noise from passing traffic. If they slept in motels, there could have been other noises and distractions, especially considering half of our drivers sleep during the day. This was not conducive to quality sleep,” he explained.
Mr Swane said it was rewarding to work with Toll on an industry-leading initiative. “From the outset, we have focused on enhancing transport efficiency and protecting the industry’s greatest asset – its drivers. And this will have a flow-on effect, improving safety for the general public of Dubbo and the wider community of road users. The Dubbo interchange may be the first dedicated facility of its kind, but I hope many more will follow throughout Australia. It’s a win-win for everyone,” he said.