Collections were missed in the Thoresby Road part of Westfield Ward today. A vehicle fault was blamed
Council officials have now written to concerned Councillors about the chronic unreliability of the bin emptying service. It has gone in 3 short years from being one of the most praised public services in the city to one of the most criticised.
Pressures on the service have contributed to an increase in litter drift in many areas with post round tidy up sometimes being missed out.
Officials say the problems are mainly caused by “an ageing fleet (directly linked to breakdowns), driver shortages and staff sickness”
“When the service is under pressure, we prioritise household waste collections followed by recycling and then garden waste”
“We are in the process of a wholescale fleet replacement. In the 10 years since the last vehicles were purchased the city has expanded so we need to account for this, however York is a historical city which is both beautiful and incredibly difficult to service in some areas when it comes to waste collection. I want to ensure that the next fleet of vehicles are capable of serving all areas of the city in the safest possible way. Health and safety for staff and residents is top of our agenda”.
“Staffing the service will continue to be a challenge, particularly when it comes to HGV drivers. This is a national problem and experienced by our surrounding Council areas. However, this is also exacerbated in York as we simply don’t have the industries to support this. However, we are investing significantly in developing our own staff through apprenticeship programmes and development opportunities. Working on the frontline in all weather is not a job for the faint hearted. One of the reasons that ‘new’ staff turnover is high is that people underestimate how demanding the job is”.
Unfortunately the service does not seem to have published an improvement programme with milestones. No figures are produced indicating the number of bins that aren’t emptied each day, so it is impossible to test whether the claimed “improvement trajectory” is a reality.
Critically officials are staying tight lipping about when new vehicles are expected in the City or indeed if they have even been ordered.
Many will be surprised that adequate spare resources did not form part of the original vehicle leasing deal.
In other parts of the world more automation has been tried with mixed results