New PierPass trucker survey finds favorable reaction to off-peak gates
The organization that administers the off-peak hours fee program at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach said Wednesday that truckers surveyed had a positive overall impression of the program.
The survey was commissioned by PierPass, which oversees a program that charges $40 per TEU for every container that exits or enters the ports during weekday daytime hours. According to the poll, conducted by Santa Monica, Calif.-based opinion research firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates, most drivers working in and around the port complexes report an overall positive opinion of the PierPass program's nighttime and Saturday shifts.
Among the detailed results, the survey found that truck drivers credit PierPass with reducing traffic congestion, increasing the number of trips drivers can make during a work shift, raising individual driver income levels and providing for more flexible work schedules. The 480 drivers surveyed in the interview-based poll represent more than 180 trucking companies.
“The survey results really speak for themselves,' said FMM&A partner Richard Maullin in a statement. 'Less than one year after (PierPass) was introduced, a substantial majority of truck drivers who serve the ports are well aware of (it), have a favorable opinion of it and cite significant benefits for their working and personal lives.'
Conducted between May 18 and May 27, the wide-ranging survey finds that 83 percent of those truck drivers surveyed are familiar with PierPass. Among these truckers, 66 percent view the addition of night gates and Saturday operations as a positive development for their work. Seventy-one percent report overall reduced traffic, while 65 percent say they have more flexible work schedules. Additionally, one-third of those truck drivers surveyed report higher earnings since the program was introduced in July 2005.
Forty-three percent of PierPass-aware truckers said they are making more trips per shift since the program began, and the percentage of truckers reporting that they make four or more trips during a shift went up 10 percent.
'An increase in trips per shift indicates a more efficient process is at work,' said Bruce Wargo, PierPass president and chief executive officer, in a statement. 'The result is less traffic congestion and potentially less air pollution from the reduction of long lines and idling truck engines.'
The survey said that 67 percent of truckers aware of PierPass experienced less congestion outside of the terminal gates, while 55 percent acknowledge an overall improvement of congestion inside the terminal facilities.
Polling was conducted in equal numbers among three shifts: weekday daytime hours (3 a.m. to 6 p.m.), off-peak hours (Monday to Thursday, 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.) and Saturday (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Research subjects were interviewed at locations at or near marine terminal gates. The poll's margin for error as a whole is plus or minus 4.6 percent.
Trucker acceptance of PierPass has been a controversial topic since it began 11 months ago. California trucking lobbyists say that trucker opinion isn't nearly as favorable as PierPass officials portray it, and both PierPass and the California Trucking Association have conducted multiple surveys to gauge opinion among the fragmented port drayage community in Southern California.