More people switching to truck driving as driver demand grows during pandemic

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The pandemic has not stopped the demand for delivery drivers. A professional driving instructor said, he has never had a waitlist for his classes until now.

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Professional Driving Academy owner Richard Hoapili said, there is a growing demand from companies to hire more professional truck drivers.

“I just had a couple of companies call me yesterday and they are still looking for drivers,” Hoapili said. “Some other companies, they are sending their warehouse guys to us to get their license.”

Hoapili is also noticing more people making a switch in careers — especially from industries that have suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoapili said, “A lot of people from hospitality trying to switch over, just because the whole pandemic thing, a lot of hotels shutting down and they have to find a way to pay their bills.”  

A United State Postal Service Honolulu District spokesperson said, they have added positions to meet the increased mail that workers have been handling and delivering since the onset of the pandemic.

“We’ve seen an increase in job applicants during the pandemic, both in terms of total numbers as well as the diversity in prior work experience of potential employees. We welcome applicants who are seeking the stability and reward of being an essential employee that the U.S. Postal Service provides.

“The Postal Service currently has job openings for mail carrier positions on Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. Interested applicants are invited to apply at https://about.usps.com/careers.”

A UPS Inc. spokesperson said, anecdotally they are also seeing people apply from a wider range of backgrounds when compared to before the pandemic.

Hoapili said, “They need more drivers to be able to deliver all that mail, everybody is doing the online ordering.”   

He said, drivers on average can make between $50,000 to $80,000 per year, and sometimes more.

Hoapili said, his classes are booked through next year.

He said, “As soon as the pandemic hit there was a waiting list.”  

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