GPS Tracking System Cleans Up City’s Trash Routes

Have you ever forgotten it was trash day? It’s a  fairly common mistake.

When this happens, some city residents still put their trash cans out on the street,  even though they know the trucks have already come through their neighborhood. Then these less than honest residents actually have the nerve to call in to the city’s trash department, complaining that the trash trucks forgot to stop at their residence.

In Bay City, waste department managers say this has been an ongoing problem for years. Until now – because all of Bay City’s trash trucks now have a GPS tracking system installed inside of every vehicle.

The GPS tracking system was initially installed to reduce the waste department’s fuel costs. The tracking system helps drivers to take more efficient routes and make last minute changes when there is unanticipated traffic or congestion on the roads. But the tracking system offers much more.

Now waste management is realizing the GPS tracking system is providing many more benefits. It greatly reduces return visits, said Steve Black, deputy city manager of community development.

The GPS tracking system helps the waste dept. to know which complaints are valid, and which ones are not. Say you are claiming that a truck blew by your home at 6 a.m. on pickup day, before you had a chance to haul out your city-provided trash receptacle. But the tracking system shows that in reality, a garbage truck was going down your street about 10 a.m., at a reasonable 5 to 10 mph.

City commissioner Chad Sibley was concerned about two problems he sees in his neighborhood: trash receptacles that get blocked after the fact by other people parking in front of them, and residents “double dipping” by having trash out on their side of the road, then refilling for the pickup across the street because they have so much volume to toss.

The GPS tracking system really has helped put an end to double-dipping, because residents simply can’t get away with it anymore. Mr. Black said drivers are trained to pick up trash if at all possible, but can leave notices on problem vehicles. And double dippers can be turned in so the department can keep an eye out for receptacles that are being reused that day.