ED Magedson – Founder
CRST Van Expedited3930 16th Ave SW Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA
CRST Van Expedited The fastest way to squander your savings Cedar Rapids Iowa
The only positive thing there is about working for CRST is that you will learn every possible way that a company can screw its drivers.
Hiring: I had just upgraded from a CDL-B to a CDL-A. I had plans to take a trip to visit a friend for about a week, then find a driving job. I had given my notice at my job and the day before what was supposed to be my last, my car was stolen. The last thing in the world that I wanted was to go completely broke, so instead of taking my trip, I started calling trucking companies because I figured if I worked hard, by the time I came off the road, I would have enough to buy a cheap car and continue forward. The company that could get me behind the wheel first was CRST. That should've been a warning. My car was recovered the next day, but I felt a moral obligation to go forward with CRST.
They did provide a bus ticket, but deducted it at full price even though they purchased it at a discount.
I remember a conference call that had been set up with the orientation class and one of the fleet managers. She gave us a pep talk with a warning that it was tough living on a truck. We all of course figured the slackers who didn't want to drive were the ones that would struggle, because we all were going to drive until the tires fell off. I ignored my spidey sense. I paid dearly.
During orientation, they give you a big pep talk about getting safety involved early. I promise you, the sooner you get safety involved, the sooner you will get fired. Safety is NOT there to help you. The only thing safety did accomplish was that you could go out of service at the drop of a hat if you claimed to be tired. Unfortunately, they wouldn't give you another load for 2-5 days (according to the drivers that went out of service for safety reasons).
In Carlisle, they were ballbusters about everything, but I was cleared to work. My first trainer got us as far as Oklahoma city, then met up with a friend of his and they teamed up. After 5 days (no truck, no hotel) living in the terminal, sleeping on those beat up recliners, I started calling other companies out of desperation. Finally on day 8, I got a new trainer who smoked (yuck!). Including meal breaks, we rolled about 23 hours per day, and we always got the loads delivered on time.
At one point, we took a load from Fontana, CA to Gap, PA. My "split" was 634 miles. They actually came up with the definition for a trailer shuttle when we asked them why we weren't getting paid for all the extra stops. We never got paid for "city work" at the city work rate. Drivers had to pay cash for tolls, and hope to get reimbursed. I personally never once received full reimbursement let alone payment for miles on any of my payments.
They used to charge you to get paid, and I never once got reimbursed for taking advances to pay the tolls.
Fuel Bonus: No
Safety Bonus: No
On time Bonus: No
Mileage Bonus: No
In Service Bonus: No
Paid Holidays: No
Paid Vacation: No
HazMat Bonus: No
Any bonuses of any kind?: No
I was hired in September with several hundred dollars in hand. Except for 6 days off after my month of training, I rolled non stop until Christmas. I have never partaken of the lot lizards, don't have any vices such as drinking, smoking or drugs, I didn't even have a tv on the truck let alone a DVD player, and only ate one real meal per day with a gallon jug of water and maybe $5.00 in snacks. By the time I was supposed to make the 410 mile drive home from Carlisle, I was so broke that I had to take a cash advance to make sure I had enough gas money to make it.
On one particular occasion, I remember not getting paid for a trip. I had to call Cedar Rapids and ask them to review the paperwork. Only then did they "find" my trip sheet. This was a regular thing. They were always shorting on miles, tolls, and sometimes just deleted trips altogether hoping that their twice weekly pay cycle would confuse the issue.
Per diem was a total scam. Yes, your weekly pay might have been very slightly higher, but you really took it in the hASS on your tax returns.
One time we were driving magazines from Oklahoma to 4 stops in NY state. Weather conditions were bad, but we were promised that if we got them delivered on time, there was a $25.00 bonus for each driver. Road conditions were icy, so we drove slow. Miraculously, even driving slower than usual for safety, we managed to get all stops delivered on time. Do I have to tell you there was no bonus pay?
Team driving sucks dog balls. When you're driving, you always have to think of your co-driver's rest, so no cranking the rock and roll, no playing with the temperature. You have to drive smmmmmooooth or you'll die in your sleep. Unfortunately, you co-driver may not be so considerate. None of mine were. One of them decided that I didn't need the AC in the sleeper, so he would wait until I would fall asleep then turn it off and I would wake up an hour later sweating. One of my co-drivers (you go through a lot of them at CRST) would drive like a jackass and crank the radio. I never believed it was possible to fall asleep at the wheel until I worked for CRST. You have to be exhausted to sleep in a moving truck. I used to drive to Carlisle from the Boston area, drive, sit awake while my co-driver drove, drive again, then hopefully be able to sleep. It took months after getting a local job to develop a safe sleep pattern again.
At one point, we figured out that the people in Cedar Rapids were playing a game with the drivers. They came out with a list of approved fuel stops and the nicer truck stops were slowly whittled away until you had only the kind of nasty places you would never want to go. Everything they did, absolutely everything seemed like a prank designed to test the limits of the drivers.
CRST claims to have the most miles per truck in the industry. I actually believe this to be true, but the first thing you have to consider is that it is primarily a TEAM company, so you'd kinda expect them to have more miles per truck. Per driver is another issue. The second consideration is not the actual distance you drive, but how much of it they actually pay you for.
At one point, they were doing a "truck raffle" in which they promised to raffle(?) a pickup truck if they went 6 weeks without a rollover or jacknife accident. As I recally they went an unusually long 11 days or so.
Tales from the inside
CRST does technically "help" you get your CDL, but there was one story floating around that I absolutely believe. CRST would find homeless people living under bridges and whatnot. If they had a valid drivers license, they would offer them the opportunity to upgrade to a CDL and drive. The enticement was a warm safe place to sleep while earning money. Most of these people would decide they were better off living under a bridge.
...homeless people experienced in living on the street decided they were better off being homeless than working for CRST.
...this driver, experienced working for CRST has no doubt that the above is true.
Think about that.
Once after reporting to Carlisle after Christmas, the 20/10 team I was supposed to join (we were the only one out of Carlisle at that time) was delayed. Another team had to get one of its members home (he was newly married and she wasn't adjusting well to being a trucker's wife). I was asked if I could go from Carlisle to Fontana and back which would return us in time for me to meet up with my own team. We dropped the other driver off in Kingsport, TN, then continued on to OKC. In OKC there was a problem with another load, so we relayed and went to do a load rescue which we also took back to OKC. Our original load was gone by the time we got back, and the new load they gave us was on a messed up trailer. It was literally impossible to keep the tractor and trailer in a single lane, so two adjustments later, we were on our way back to Carlisle.
Paid from Carlisle to Kingsport?: No.
Paid from Kingsport to OKC?: No.
Paid from OKC to the load rescue?: No.
Paid from OKC to Carlisle?: No.
5 days on the road in a truck lived in by heavy smokers and I didn't get paid a dime.
To make it worse, when it came time to fuel the truck, I had to use the "truck" bonus cards, so I wasn't even earning those pilot points and whatnot. This I can't blame on CRST, but it's typical of the CRST experience.
Despite numerous load rescues, never showing up late from hometime, always being willling to take the loads nobody else would touch (NYC), and never having so much as scratched a trailer, I found out years later that they put something on my DAC report about abandonning equipment. Absolutely not true -- I gave them proper notice and we returned to the truck to the Carlisle terminal when we were scheduled for hometime.
After 5 months with CRST, rolling almost constantly, I had MUCH less than when I started.
On the plus side, working for CRST was one of those character building experiences. It is easily the worst company I have ever worked for, and that experience will always keep me grounded because I am grateful for not being there anymore. As long as I'm not with CRST, I'm doing alright.
CRST is a dangerous company to work for not only in terms of safety, but also financially and professionally. They will maliciously screw up your DAC report, steal money from EVERY pay cycle. Not once did I receive full payment for what I had driven; not even at the reduced mileage they would specify on the qual com before you committed to the load. Driving conditions are patently unsafe because it is a team operation with few mature drivers, poor in-house training, and a bad corporate ethic.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/03/2013 01:54 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/crst-van-expedited/cedar-rapids-iowa-52406/crst-van-expedited-the-fastest-way-to-squander-your-savings-cedar-rapids-iowa-1096592. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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