100 More Rest Areas Opened to Food Trucks Across Multiple States
Columbus, OH – More states are beginning to permit food trucks at rest areas in an effort to ensure truckers have readily available access to a hot meal.
A recent non-enforcement directive issued by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has paved the way for food trucks to be permitted by individual states to set up shop at rest areas.
In the last week, multiple states have announced it is moving forward with issuing permits to food truck operators.
In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine issued an order to allow the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to begin permitting food trucks at its 86 rest areas throughout the state.
“Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the economy and their jobs have never been more critical than now,” said Governor DeWine. “I’ve heard from many in the trucking industry that finding a place to eat while they’re on the road has been tough, but we’re here to help.”
According to ODOT, food trucks servicing rest areas are not permitted to sell packaged snacks or drinks in order to support the existing on-premise vending operations.
ODOT notes that such vending is operated by a blind or visually impaired small business owner as part of the Ohio Business Enterprise Program.
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) also began permitting food trucks to serve at rest areas.
INDOT says it is currently accepting applications from food truck operators.
The Agency plans to issue two permits for food trucks to operate between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., each day on a first-come, first-served basis at 24 rest area locations.
Click HERE to view these locations.
An INDOT spokesperson told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) last Wednesday that, so far, the Department had received fewer than 10 applications from food truck operators.
However, the spokesperson provided an update today and indicated 8 food trucks are being deployed to rest areas on Monday.
Late last week, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) announced that food trucks will be permitted to set up in several rest areas along Connecticut highways after Governor Ned Lamont issued an executive order to allow such activity.
“These truck drivers are keeping Connecticut moving and are providing critical necessities to and through our state during this national crisis. We need to make it as easy as possible to keep them fed around the clock,” said CTDOT Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti.
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CTDOT says it will will open four out of its seven rest area locations for food truck operations, which includes the rest area on I-84 in Danbury, on I-91 in Middletown and Wallingford, and on I-95 in North Stonington.
Other states such as Arkansas and Florida are also permitting food trucks at selected rest areas as well.
A coalition led by the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) is urging the FHWA to commit to put the brakes on its newly issued non-enforcement notice once the national emergency is over.
Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman, NATSO’s vice president of public affairs, told TNN that permitting food trucks at rest areas is not only harmful to off-highway businesses, but it is not needed given that truck stops remain open and are continuing to serve food through to-go and drive thru options.
“I have not heard of a single truck stop that has shut down during the pandemic,” she said. “Truck stops are open and our number one concern remains ensuring that America’s truck drivers have places where they can eat and rest. We believe that the best way to ensure that is to help truck stops navigate, survive and stay open during this pandemic.”
The Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association excoriated NATSO for its position on the issue.
Click HERE to read more about the brewing battle over food trucks.
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I think its great seeing communities come together and praise our truckers. Those hot meals mean alot to those who bust there ass out there on the road. I understand that yes truck stops are open to truckers for meals as well, but when it’s always the same food all the time, you get kind of burned out on it. When my husband is out on the road, I try to make sure I provide him with meals while gone, but there’s time when he runs out and he will tell me that hes getting tired of burgers and hotdogs while out on the road. So having these food trucks along the way at rest stops are an amazing idea to me. And besides, how many miles are in between gas stations when out on the road? And you just happen to see a rest stop with a food truck? Great way to keep truckers happy and local food vendors in business.
If the truck stops kept their full menu and restaurants open 24 hours a day so that us truck drivers who drive it all night when we get hungry we can get something to eat we don’t have to wait till 8:00 in the morning and we don’t have to get something before 9:00 at night most of the times they close even before then. Then they are slow to serve you and their food is always over priced. Truck stop association tell your members to provide better service better menus and better prices and keep them open for the hours we work and you wouldn’t be having this issue. 24 hr Team operation. If we work 24 why can’t our service providers!!!
This is great. But who is telling the food truck operators that they can do this? I’m based out of Ohio, and haven’t seen a single food truck at any rest area in the state, nor in any other state around the country.
And who cares what the truck stop operators think. I don’t want to eat fast food at any time, and the in-house selections are weak and overpriced. We get it, you’re out to make a profit. But if you keep pricing your products beyond the realm of reasonable cost for the product offered, we’re gonna find somewhere else to buy fuel, and park, and spend our money.