The ideal delivery for a truck driver is soft beverages on Sunday mornings in New Mexico, according to findings from the second Facilities Insight Report from Uber Freight. Drivers also hate waiting and rank facilities with longer detention times lower.
According to the report, facilities that required pickups be made between midnight and 4 a.m. on Sunday had the highest overall average rating at 4.46, while deliveries from 4-8 a.m. on Sunday had the highest average of 4.39. Facilities with late afternoon and evening (4 p.m. to midnight) weekday pickup windows had the lowest average facility rating of 4.22. Facilities accepting deliveries during this period rated 3.99.
The average facility rating in Uber Freight’s network is 4.31 for pickups and 4.25 for deliveries. Drivers rate facilities through the Uber Freight app. The company said it has collected nearly 600,000 ratings and over 115,000 reviews of shipper locations. Drivers rate facilities on a scale of one to five stars and can also leave comments about facilities. The Facilities Ratings Report digs deeper into this dataset and is used to help shippers identify ways to improve the facility experience for drivers.
“These insights obviously change as we collect more and more ratings and are used to draw broader trends about the state of facilities,” Sameer Dohadwala, head of central operations for Uber Freight, told FreightWaves. “Things like market capacity and seasonality all affect how smoothly facilities run, and consequently, how drivers experience those facilities.”
Drivers said pickup wait times were shortest, at just 131 minutes, on Wednesdays between noon and 4 p.m. Monday evening wait times were the longest, at 269 minutes between 4 and 8 p.m. Delivery wait times ranged from 68 minutes on Mondays from 8 a.m. to noon to 233 minutes on Saturdays between 8 p.m. and midnight.
Dwell time plays a large role in how drivers view a facility, the report found.
“Carriers and their drivers favor facilities that treat drivers well and provide the right amenities,” Dohadwala said. “Exhibiting respect, helping during pickups and deliveries, and friendly, clear communication can go a long way in earning driver favor. Restroom availability, particularly for female drivers, is highly valued, as are amenities such as vending machines and overnight parking.”
Why facility ratings matter
Dohadwala said facilities with higher ratings saw benefits.
“In this second report, which pulls from a larger number of ratings, we are starting to see some of the nuanced ways that ratings can impact driver behavior, and ultimately impact a shipper’s bottom line,” he said. “For example, we were able to see stronger correlations between high ratings and booking velocity, which in turn leads to lower rates.”
The first Facilities Insights Report was released in June 2019. At the time, Uber Freight noted that at a four-star facility, 18 Uber Freight app users view one load before it gets booked. But for a five-star facility, only nine app users view the same load before it’s booked. In this report, Uber Freight tied a 20% return rate of carriers for each one-point star rating increase.
Ultimately, loads at facilities with no rating see longer waits in getting their loads booked.
“At locations that have no facility ratings at all, the number of times a load is viewed by carriers before it’s booked is much higher,” Dohadwala said. “At the same time, we saw a lot of the same insights [that appeared in the first report] strengthened with new data. For example, facility wait times continue to be a primary indicator of ratings and overall driver satisfaction. We’re excited to continue pulling these insights as the number of facility ratings grows.”
According to FreightWaves’ proprietary SONAR data on dwell time (SONAR: WAIT.USA), drivers spend an average of 140 minutes waiting at facilities.
“Improving dwell time is one of the biggest things shippers can do to improve their operations and earn driver favor,” Dohadwala said. “Detention costs carriers an estimated $1.3 billion in annual earnings, and a 15-minute increase in average dwell time increases the average expected crash rate by 6.2%. In turn, low dwell times are one of the strongest predictors of high facility ratings, and not surprisingly, shorter wait times also result in lower accessorial costs for shippers.”
Dohadwala said the increased data available through facility ratings is something all shippers should be reviewing.
“The Facility Insights Report affirms that shippers need to make meaningful changes and earn driver favor in a tight-capacity market,” he said. “But in order to do that, shippers first need a wealth of data and visibility into their fragmented supply chains. High ratings signal happy drivers and lead to faster load booki3 wang, stronger carrier return rates, and lower accessorial costs.”
Among states, New Mexico facilities ranked highest for pickups, achieving a 4.83 rating, followed by Washington (4.6), North Dakota (4.59), and Vermont and Oregon (both at 4.54). Iowa facilities (4.12) ranked lowest in terms of pickups. Nevada (4.13), New Hampshire (4.14), Maryland (4.15) and Illinois (4.16) round out the bottom five.
When it comes to deliveries, South Dakota facilities ranked highest with a 4.76 average rating. New Mexico (4.58), Iowa (4.5), Idaho (4.48) and West Virginia (4.43) also ranked high. Connecticut and Maryland facilities tied for the lowest rated for deliveries, scoring just 4.12 on average. Maryland was the only state with facilities ranked in the bottom five in both pickup and delivery. Kansas, New York and New Jersey (all at 4.13) were also in the bottom five.
Regionally, facilities in the West had the highest pickup and delivery ratings, while those in the Northeast ranked among the lowest. Western facilities averaged a 4.36 rating for pickups and 4.3 for deliveries. Those in the Northeast ranked 4.28 and 4.18. Southeast facilities rated 4.32 for pickups and 4.25 for deliveries. Midwest and Southwest facilities both achieved a 4.27 rating for deliveries. The Midwest also had a 4.32 for pickups while the Southwest averaged 4.26.
Drivers delivering soft beverages tended to rate those facilities best with an average of 4.33. Food facilities ranked lowest with a 4.2 average. Industrials (4.31), hard beverages (4.26) and consumer product goods (4.26) were also ranked.