17th December 2021 On the road again.

Goodaye all. I did three trips to Melbourne week before last and on the third leg home decided to try Vicroads again. I got frustrated by the changes to their phone service and previously told them so, but had no further feedback nor did anything get fixed, so must admit, I gave up for a while.

But I rang and said I had a list of five things and the lady was accepting and interested. We got through the list and she said, “Is there anything else?” and I said yes, but I don’t have a reference point or kilometre marker, so will have to ring back when I can confirm. She did ring me back as she could not find Cemetery Road, I was still way south of there and I explained where and she said, found it, all good and she would pass all issues on.

Within an hour, I had a call back from one of the road managers. One issue they knew about, one they did not, two were previous complaints that nothing had been done about and we discussed those and one was out of his jurisdiction, but he would pass it on. I had his number on the phone and asked could I call him with other issues. He requested I continue to call the 131170 number and we discussed the menu issue and both he and the original lady said they had not listened to it and would.

The road manager did say they struggle to get the funding for some things and I explained that I rang with good intent, knowing they had a big network and that few of them understood our issues and hoped that my complaint, would not only see bits fixed or at least improved, but that my calling as a road user and raising these issues would possibly then help them get the funding. If no one complains, they will hopefully fix what they know about or see as a problem, but if we don’t tell them about the rough bridge abutments northbound at Glenrowan or the undulations southbound before Cemetery Road or all the other bits, how likely are they to fix them?

Now the cynical of you will say they won’t fix any of it anyway and yes, the southbound section near the inspection pads north of Kalkallo took me years to get fixed and are now failing again, but you must at least give me a B plus for trying and not giving up easily. We shall see what gets fixed, but many others have been over the years. We also discussed the wire rope and the problems it has caused in being run end to end on the Hume and I am still waiting for Vicroads to mark the overlap bays with green reflectors, but I shall never give up on that one.

Tomorrow I head off on my longest ever work trip. I might even try and make a story of it. I must go now to hook up my trailers for a trip to Norseman in WA and will pick up a third there for Port Hedland. It will be a big trip. Till next time, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

10th January 2021 trips and reflectors.

Goodaye all, a busy week, four audio books completed, three round trips to Melbourne, a call from TMR Roma and hopefully some work to now update and record and maintain green reflector bays in that area, that contact was to pass on my details to Emerald district with the same purpose, make them aware and have them add some new and also maintain current sites etc.

A call to Vicroads coming out of Melbourne Friday with a list of 5 issues, saw a 20 minute wait on the phone, but then not only a very understanding, but even more, someone who was even interested in my issues, taking a list and within the hour, I had a call from one of the road engineers regarding one section. He confirmed one problem, another was in their lists of things to do, one was not and would be added, one was a previous complaint and another was out of his jurisdiction, but he would pass on.

He did say they are struggling to get the funding to do all that needs to be done and I did say I hoped he would take my complaint and use it to get more funding as being a regular user of the road and therefore someone affected by road failures, like any other road user, those using the road regularly should be listened to. I asked could I contact him with another issue that I could not immediately recall accurately where it was and therefore, they would struggle to find it.

He said, “All I can suggest is you keep ringing the 131170 number and both raising issues that affect us and then in doing so, that will be helping them to get sufficient funding to fix those things. I was not happy with the menu on the call in number, raised that issue as well and both said they would pass that on.

I am working on a complete list of bumps from Oakey to Mt Isa and have forewarned TMR, but have been told it will at the least be passed on to the relevant districts. Only waiting for Rockhampton and Toowoomba to respond now. I am still not happy with the speed zones on the Toowoomba bypass, was told by QTA they were given an undertaking they would be reviewed, but nothing has changed except now the uphill section of the viaduct was corrugating before Christmas.

A couple of new and remarked green reflector bays on the Tomingley to Narromine Road, two still to do and a couple on the Newell near Peak Hill and Wagga remarked after new guideposts put in. A number of new sites marked between Roma and Mt Isa now marked from trips before Christmas as well. I raised it again with Vicroads and it was interesting to hear that even the repair crews complained about the wire rope before it went from end to end and they have had two trucks hit as there is now nowhere safe to pull off the road and be clear of traffic.

I was told by Vicroads in July last year, there would be a trial of marking the overlap bays in the wire rope with green reflectors in September 2020,  but none has been done and they refuse to respond when I ask again and again. No wonder we struggle to comply and have doubts about how serious they are about our safety.

Many of you may be aware of the change in the roadside radar cars in NSW. I am told that not only with the removal of the warning signs, that they will be able to catch you in both directions now, previously with the signs only on one side, they could not ping you going the other way, but if you meet one travelling on the road towards you, you can get a ticket from them as well now.

In for a service in the morning, then a delivery and off to Moree and possibly Brisbane. We had a busy Christmas and others I spoke to said the same. Did you see a change from the past? I see truck sales are up, freight volumes are up and all that is good for some, yet others are still affected by Covid and changes to their work load and or need for their services. Let us all hope this new year will see things improve. Till next week, Safe Travellling, Rod Hannifey.

3rd January 2021 A Trucking Good New Year to you all.

Goodaye and a TRUCKING Good New Year to you all for 2021. I got a few days off over Christmas and now a few over New year, but back on the road again, this afternoon. I hope each of you had time with those you love and or at least, time to recover from the year that was.

Some have been badly affected and we thought the worst was over, but here we are with border closures again. Let us hope after the first debacle with over 4 hours delay for trucks, seeing many out of hours and left with nowhere to go but sit in the que, that this will not happen again. It is not as though it has never happened before, yet why did it go so wrong? Who will be held responsible for simply bad traffic management? I fear it is simply a case of it doesn’t affect me, so it is not a problem.

No wonder we are a cynical and cranky bunch of people who feel we are treated as second or less, class people. We can’t get enough rest areas, toilets or shade so we can safely manage our fatigue, we can’t get the flexibility to do so, we are told by all these others to be safe and don’t break the law, yet we are not given the tools to do so.

I do hope both the HVNL review and the Senate inquiry into a Safe and Viable Road Transport industry will achieve some improvements, but unless we push, nothing will change. It is still sad that only 60 odd drivers, out of 200,000 plus, made the effort to contribute to the HVNL review. Many will sit and whinge about how we are treated and those groups and associations who do their best to see things change, can only do so much and without members, they too will get little done.

Those who tell us how to do our job, don’t live on the road, don’t have or even understand our problems and unfortunately even fewer care, it is simply not their problem! But they all want to eat, have clothes, fuel and parts for their cars etc and until we have a voice and those others recognise what we give up in our lives to make their better and more comfortable, we will struggle to get change.

Enough on the soapbox. I am still working on my list of issues from the Mt Isa trips, pushing for the next TIV and hoping to keep you interested and informed. How many of you read the trucking press now? What do they do right for you, what do you want from them and have you ever written and or contacted a trucking industry press to help them help you? Don’t just say, it is still the same as years ago, we need more involved, even if the only thing you do is one thing, that will help. What do you want from me, what can I do better? Give it some thought. Till next week, Safe Travelling, Rod Hannifey.

When I first picked up the brand new trailers in Melbourne.
The last trip with the first TIV. A different look that took a lot of effort with the help of many. Thank you Ken Wilkie, your help in getting me going will never be forgotten or surpassed. Thanks Rod.