Operating a long-haul service with local cartage is the recipe for success for Wichita, Kansas-based Metro Xpress.
“It’s allowed us to bring a new level of service to our customers, and it’s paying off,” said Cory Sell, Metro’s executive vice president. “We’re a little different in our business model. We’ll use our P&D fleet to supply our Wichita customers with empty trailers, so they can load at their convenience. Once they’re done, and if needed, we’ll swap out another empty trailer, and bring the fully-loaded trailer to our facility have it staged, and ready to go. The cycle then repeats. It’s very efficient. We try to overwhelm our customers with service.”
The trucking company started its life in 1982 when Cory’s dad, Kerry, who still serves as president, started the company with a 14-foot straight truck. “He made local deliveries – freight, household moves, and refuse. Eventually he grew the business and started runs down into Texas.”
Revenues grew to $1 million in 1993 as the company started splitting its operations between local and long haul, encompassing a 700-mile radius. Today, it’s at $15 million a year and the company has grown to an all-Kenworth fleet of 85 highway trucks, and six day cabs, all purchased through Wichita Kenworth. The T680 with 76-inch sleeper has become the truck of choice over the past three years, powered by the PACCAR MX-13 engine rated at 485 horsepower and equipped with the Eaton Fuller Advantage™ automated 10-speed transmission.
The Kenworth T680 has brought enhanced fuel economy to Metro’s fleet. “The PACCAR MX-13 has really performed well, and makes a big difference for us. We’re getting upwards of half mile per gallon more in fuel economy* thanks to the T680’s design, and the efficiency of the PACCAR MX-13. That’s around $3,000 per truck in fuel savings per year. Our drivers also really like the engine’s power and quietness,” said Sell.
The PACCAR MX engine’s performance enabled Metro to take a unique approach by converting several of its T660 72-inch sleeper models – with 450,000 to 500,000 miles – into day cabs for P&D work. Once the sleeper was taken off, the wheelbase was shortened and the fifth wheel relocated by Wichita Kenworth.
“We were an early adopter of the PACCAR MX, first in Kenworth T660s more than five years ago. Its performance is one reason we decided to make some of our T660s into day cabs and keep them working on the road. Those trucks with the MX engine will last a long time.”
Sell said he firmly believes in buying a truck that the driver wants to drive. “The biggest part of a trucking company is the driver,” he said. As a result, the company included the premium Kenworth Diamond VIT interior, Kenworth GT702 driver seat, 180-degree passenger swivel seat with a rotating table, and TV installation package, among other driver-focused items, in the specifications for its T680 76-inch sleepers over the past three years.
Robert Watts (above) has been driving since 1998 for Metro – 24 years as a truck driver overall. He’s driven numerous Kenworth trucks, and “they just keep getting better,” he said with a grin. “The comfort in the T680 is just great. And there is no noise – the engine is quiet, there is no wind noise. When I’m on the road and call someone using my Bluetooth headset, they don’t believe I’m driving the truck. They can hear me crystal clear with no engine or road noise. It’s like I’m calling from my home.”
And, according to Watts, the T680 is virtually home. “I spend nearly all of my time in the truck – just home on weekends. I actually sleep better in the truck than I do in my bed at home. The sleeper set-up is great, with the rotating table, the room between the seats makes it really easy to get back into the sleeper compartment – you don’t have to squeeze to get through.”
On the road, Watts said the T680 handles wonderfully and new technology, like the Xenon HID headlamps, is a welcome addition. “Especially in poor weather. They break through and give me extra vision,” he said. “And, I love the Kenworth SmartWheel®, which allows me to control the radio channels and volume, plus activate cruise control. I just wish my personal vehicle had this.”
He’s also a big believer in the Kenworth Driver Performance Center. He keeps track of his running fuel mileage and his idle time, “which is less than 2 percent,” he said.
Kenworth is The Driver’s Truck. See what drivers are saying at www.kenworth.com/drivers.
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World’s Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth’s Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.
*Individual fuel economy improvement will vary depending on use, road conditions and other factors.