• ITVI.USA
    11,095.550
    -126.500
    -1.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    15.880
    -0.310
    -1.9%
  • OTVI.USA
    11,081.180
    -123.910
    -1.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.900
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.520
    0.160
    6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    1.860
    0.020
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.310
    0.140
    12%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.260
    0.100
    4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.260
    0.040
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.730
    0.150
    5.8%
  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
    -17.000
    -14.2%
  • ITVI.USA
    11,095.550
    -126.500
    -1.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    15.880
    -0.310
    -1.9%
  • OTVI.USA
    11,081.180
    -123.910
    -1.1%
  • TLT.USA
    2.900
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.520
    0.160
    6.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    1.860
    0.020
    1.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.310
    0.140
    12%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.260
    0.100
    4.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.260
    0.040
    3.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    2.730
    0.150
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  • WAIT.USA
    103.000
    -17.000
    -14.2%
NewsTrucking

TravelCenters lays off more than 3,000 as full-service restaurants idled (Update 2)

Travel plazas open for truckers, but four-wheel traffic has all but disappeared

Editor’s Note: Adds comments from Love’s and Pilot

TravelCenters of America (NASDAQ: TA) is laying off more than 3,000 employees because its full-service restaurants are closed and stay-at-home orders have all but dried up business from non-trucking motorists.

TA, which operates  260 TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel centers in 44 states and Canada, is furloughing approximately 2,900 field employees and about 122 corporate employees. Total company employment is 21,000.

“This decision was very difficult, but these are unprecedented times,” said TA CEO Jon Pertchik, a veteran turnaround expert hired in December 2019. “We believe this step is necessary to preserve the long-term success of our company and to ensure our essential services remain available for the millions of professional drivers who rely on us daily,”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many state and local governments to close or severely limit non-essential services, including full-service restaurants. TA said in March that parts of its business may not be considered essential during the health crisis. That is playing out for its full-service restaurants.

All TA locations remain open, providing fuel, showers, restrooms, quick-serve restaurants and convenience stores to truck drivers hauling essential freight like food for grocery stores and medical supplies.

All furloughed employees currently enrolled in TA’s benefits programs will continue to be eligible for healthcare coverage based on their plan. Impacted employees are eligible to apply for enhanced unemployment benefits under the  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

TA is the only publicly traded travel plaza operation among the three largest truck stop operators.

Love’s and Pilot Company

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores said it has not furloughed or laid off any workers due to the coronavirus pandemic. The company said April 3 it is seeking to hire up to 2,000 people for several of its businesses including Musket, the trading and logistics arm of Love’s, and Trillium, a developer of alternative fueling systems.

“We are proud of the dedication our employees have shown in taking care of America’s professional drivers and four-wheel traffic during this crisis,” Love’s spokeswoman Caitlin Campbell told FreightWaves.

The Pilot Company, which operates ravel plazas under the Pilot and Flying J brands, did not comment directly on layoffs at its travel plazas or its energy division, which operates the nation’s third-largest tanker fleet.

“During this difficult time, Pilot Company remains focused on protecting the safety of team members and guests,Chief People Officer Paul Shore said in a statement.

“We are working hard to keep our more 780 Pilot and Flying J Travel Centers open and operational in order to provide the essential products, services and food that professional drivers and guests need to keep North America moving.”

Pilot this week donated $100,000 to the St. Christopher’s Trucker Development and Relief Fund that helps pay basic living expenses for semi-truck drivers who become ill or are injured on the job.

Truckstops and travel plazas are adapting to hundreds of varying orders from state and local jurisdictions, said Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of NATSO, the trade association for travel plaza and truckstop operators.

“These orders influence all aspects of their business, including their hours of operation and whether they may serve local residents or offer sit-down dining,” Mullings said. “As essential businesses, truckstops and travel plazas across the United States are navigating these myriad economic challenges, but remain open and continue to provide food, fuel, showers and other amenities needed by professional drivers.”

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for Trucks.com. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.

8 Comments

  1. The TA had restaurants? No way! When did that happen? I was in one a few months ago, and I was talking to the manager of the one here in Dexter Michigan, and I told him flat out, this would be a fantastic place to open a restaurant, did I miss something?

  2. I am an employee of TA Petro and what has and will have a big impact at my particular store also is the cancellation of the Nascar race which has a large economic impact on the small town with 2 races a year.

  3. TA and PETRO Travel centers are not the truckers friend. Their prices for goods the driver needs is priced higher than the competitors. They charge 18 to 20 dollars for a reserved parking spot now. When they first began the price was 12-13 dollars per night. Their parking lots at most locations are in dire need of repair.
    The only positive is that their showers at most, not all, locations are well maintained, but I would choose Love’s shower over TA /Petro truck stops. They have a long way to go to be a “friend” of the truckers in my opinion.

  4. THEY ARE DOING THIS TO THEMSELVES,WHY CLOSE THE DELI WHEN SOMEONE COULD SERVE WHAT A PERSON WANTS AND WEIGH IT,THAT SORT OF THING HAS ATTRACTED ME TO MANY T/A’s and PETRO’s I KNOW THEY MUST OBEY THE LAW,BUT IF THE LAW IS HURTING YOUR BUSINESS THEN IT’S TIME TO REWRITE IT

  5. If they weren’t in my fuel network I would not use them. I refuse to spend a dime with them (other than fuel) until they remove the profit center”reserved parking.” And please don’t insult me with the idea they are helping truckers by offering reserved parking. If that’s the case, offer it for $5 a night and no more than 10 to 15 spots in each lot.

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