Got my first taste at driving a package car...

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by brett636, Oct 28, 2006.

  1. brett636

    brett636 Well-Known Member

    I've been accepted into an air driver/hub sorter combo job. This is a rare case in my hub at my seniority level, and the only reason I got it was the other person who had it got disqualified. From what I understand a lot of people going into this job classification are getting disqualified, and I'm wondering if its lazy people or over zealous managers asking for too much. Anyone know what I should expect doing air driving? After driving a package car for the first time during my on road test I have some more respect for those of you that do it for 10+ hours a day. I suppose I will get used to it, but driving it felt rather awkward. I'm starting my training class this week, and while I'm confident I will get through it ok I hope I don't fall for the same traps my predecessors have. Any tips for someone about to be driving one of those famous brown trucks?
  2. Leftinbuilding

    Leftinbuilding Active Member

    Aim High
    Get the big picture
    Keep your eyes moving
    Leave yourself an out
    Make sure they see you
  3. GreyRider845

    GreyRider845 New Member

    Hello, first post. Want to say I was (am) happy to have found this forum. I am about to fill out the online application for seasonal and I'm curious about a number of things. I'll start with a real stupid question. What is a Package Car? Is that the brown van that brings the package to the door? I see in posts (not unlike this threads) about getting a Drivers job. I wondered if they are refering to over the road trucks or the famous brown van? Thanks in advance.
  4. trickpony1

    trickpony1 Well-Known Member

    A "package car" is a brown van of various sizes. The driver jumps in/out of van 100+ times a day delivering packages.
    A "feeder" is an 18 wheeler. The driver takes trailers from point A to point B, very rarily handles packages.

    Depending on where you are applying, there may be feeder positons open. If there is, I would jump at that chance.
  5. GreyRider845

    GreyRider845 New Member

    Thanks, no CDL yet though for the 18 wheeler. The little brown van would be great til then. Thanks trickpony1. Saaay, I'm a Grey Rider but I have never ridden a TRICK Pony. Hummm. Knowingly anyway.:punk::laugh:
  6. helenofcalifornia

    helenofcalifornia Well-Known Member

    No, dude, listen to Trickpony. GET a CDL and go into feeder driving if you can. Yeah, it's mostly night work, but you can do that for years without straining, stressing, breaking, wearing out any bone, joint or ligament in your body. Driving a package car is hard on your body after a while and can be stressful.
  7. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    I'd say you are lucky to have gotten a combo job at all. Not just based on your low seniority but also the fact that in the hubs it takes a long time to get a full-time driving position and in most places it takes even longer to get a combo job. Allot of drivers bid out of driving and into combo jobs. Why? Because combos are pretty much a cake walk. Usually an air route of some kind and then whatever inside the hub. Most of the combo jobs I saw in the hub I worked in where "PM Air" Routes combined with hub jobs on the midnight shifts. Those guys go around and pickup letter boxes and UPS Stores and then come inside and sort, load, or unload, smalls, etc. I did meet some people that didn't drive a package car at all but instead they just double shifted each day. Smalls/Shifter was a good combo. My little ole extended center only has one combo job. A preload/air delivery combo. They can't combine any jobs other than that because we only have preload and reload shifts.
  8. jlphotog

    jlphotog Member

    First piece of advice would be to follow what leftinbuilding said. Follow those rules to the letter. Know them inside out, forward and back wards. Practice them while you are driving your personal vehicle as well.

    If you are driving a P5, it's got a heavy clutch and standard steering. Both hands on the wheel at all possible times. (You do get used to the standard steering, but I still find myself grunting when making a tight turn.) If you are driving down a highway with ruts in the road and you need to change lanes, it is recommended to do it as gradually as possible. Know whats happening on all six sides of your PC.

    Basically the package cars are tin boxes on wheels. No frills or comforts in them.

    Don't rely on the camera. It's a good assistant, unless the sun is shining straight into it, or you are in a sun shadow combination. And keep the camera clean.

    Do a proper pre trip everyday. I know some drivers that don't and they always seem to have the "bad" package cars. Coincidence? I don't think so.
  9. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    Getting back to brett636's original question. Due to the larger size of the Package Car, it does seem very awkward due to the difference in size to a regular passenger car. You sit up higher above the road, the vehicle is taller, wider, and longer. You will soon get the feel for it, you have to learn where all four corners of it are. Be careful regarding clearing things, for example; look out for roof overhangs, utility lines, tree limbs, and basketball goals. Your have certain blind spots, like the front right corner, windshield pillars, and side mirrors. The backing camera is useful, but it is aimed straight down to your rear bumper and what is just a few feet behind you. When you back up to turn around, only back as far as necessary, don't back twenty feet if ten will do. I watch my rear tires in my bottom mirrors, so I know exactly where they are at. I have driven every size Package Car we have, and they are all different in one way or another. As an Air Driver, you will probably be driving a smaller car, I drive different P5s every day doing EAMs before taking my P7 out on my regular route.

    Good luck and be careful, you will get used to "the Brown Truck" in no time.:thumbup1:
  10. scratch

    scratch Least Best Moderator Staff Member

    ................ And congradulations on your new job, you will get used to driving if you want to bid into full-time Package Car when an opening comes up.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2006
  11. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    Once you get used to driving the package cars you'll appreciate the fact that they are higher off the ground than most personal vehicles. You can see so much more. When I get in my little pickup truck after a long day of driving a package car I feel like I can barely see the road in front of me. Even if I've been in a P500 all day. Even the tiny automatic package cars can screw up your sences. Another problem I face is that when I leave the building after driving a package car all day I tend to feel like my own vehicle has no weight at all. It feels like I'm driving so much faster than I actually am. It is just strange.
  12. rushfan

    rushfan Well-Known Member

    It's like driving a box. Make sure you remove your "waste" bottle after your done driving.
  13. brett636

    brett636 Well-Known Member

    I was taken by surprise when they called me asking about it. I had signed the list a while ago, and have been signing every combo list with no intention of ever getting them. Everyone with atleast 2+ years more seniority then me had been getting these jobs so I assumed I would probably become eligible then. I never expected this so soon. Either way I'm pretty excited, and I appreciate everything everybody here has been telling me. I start training tomorrow at 9 a.m. and hopefully I will recieve my first brown uniform!
  14. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    How long you been at UPS? In the hub I worked in it is taking at least 13 years to get a combo job. It would probably be less time if UPS was creating the right number of combo jobs that were promissed years ago. Our one combo job is going away after the guy quits, retires, etc. So it looks like driving is the only full-time job that will ever be available here.
  15. brett636

    brett636 Well-Known Member

    It sounds like you work at a rather small facility. Up until now it took atleast 8.5+ years seniority to get a combo job, and that was the least desireable ones like air driving. Everybody seems to think air driving is a pay cut with the two teir pay system, but they never seem to understand that its more hours. Anyway, I have been with UPS a little short of 6.5 years. I think my facility is nearing if not over 100 combo workers total so far. We have had several combo workers move up into package car as well as feeders so thats opened up some more jobs. Even just last year a 10 year wait wasn't all that abnormal for combo, but it just keeps going down. :thumbup1:
  16. outta hours

    outta hours Active Member

    First post that made me laugh out loud today.:thumbup1:
  17. hoser

    hoser Industrial Slob

    Air driving is 10 times easier than ground. Lighter, better packed, better clients (you're not going into the middle of smelting plants and welding shops looking for a 100 lb car part shoved into a shoebox AS OFTEN)
    , and not as much pressure. Air is where the $$$ is and they would not overload you because late air means less $$$.

    ..and wow, 8.5 years to get into driving... our centre is 10 f/t drivers short. why they can't just hire 20p/ts beats me. oh wait, the union. THANKS TEAMSTERS!
  18. Overpaid Union Thug

    Overpaid Union Thug Well-Known Member

    Yeah I'm in an "Extended Center" but I used to work in a hub before. It takes 8 years or so just to become a p/t cover driver there and around 13 for a combo job of any kind. I've been working for UPS for almost 8 years (including my time at the hub) and I'm STILL part-time!!! I hear stories about how other areas can't keep enough drivers and even combo workers but here people are praying for someone to quit, retire, die, etc. just to get ANYTHING full-time. I'd take any type of full-time job. An air/inside job would be alright with me. Two different pay scales is kinda goofy but I'd take it. Running an air route picking up drop boxes and then sorting for 4 hours or so in the building is better than getting in a jammed pack truck every morning and returning to the building at around...say...7ish and having a butt load of send agains because customers seem to think our trucks are also mini wharehouses as well as delivery vans so they order things and aren't prepared to recieve them because they know that if they don't have their money orders ready we can "just bring it back tomorrow" or if they aren't home at their apartments we'll have to come back again the next day unless we leave it at the apt. office. The only thing that sucks about air routes is on calls that the regular drivers refuse to get. Other than that....CAKE WALK!