Social media has been inundated with posts regarding issues with trash pickup in Hardin County. Some people are saying that since Republic Services bought out Waste Connections in September, they have had a myriad of problems with trash collection service.
One of the most common complaints from customers is that their garbage is not being picked up in a timely manner on a consistent schedule.
The City of Lumberton has been receiving calls from residents complaining about the service. Lumberton is in contract with Republic as their provider, therefore, residents inside the city limits are required to use them as their service. The contract with Republic will be up for renewal in October.
Back in 2008, the City of Lumberton decided to go into a franchise contract with a garbage collection provider. Lumberton City Manager Steve Clark says the reasoning behind that decision was that they had issues with multiple garbage collectors that people were using. There were a few different garbage trucks going up and down streets every day. Additionally, by having a contract with a provider, residents have a better rate.
“We are looking for the best service for everyone,” he said.
Clark says he realizes Republic’s service has not been consistent since September, when they began servicing this area. He said the transition did not go as smoothly as they thought it would.
Clark explains that it was an even more difficult transition due to the fact that Hardin County had just been hit by Harvey and that made it very challenging for Republic.
Republic Services General Manager, Bill Voigtman addressed some of these concerns. Regarding the inconsistent pickup schedule, he replied “We are in the final stages of a residential reroute which will provide a consistent pickup schedule. That reroute is scheduled to begin on 2/5/18. We will notify customers via phone, mailers and will publish schedules in the local paper.”
According to Clark, another issue was that after Harvey the Kountze landfill was shut down by the state and has yet to reopen due to the fact that they have not been able to meet the requirements.
The city has begun to document calls that are coming in with complaints about the service. “We’re going to have to look at it a little harder,” he said.
Some customers have complained that the Republic trucks only pick up what is inside the trash receptacle, not anything sitting outside of the container. Clark clarifies that their contract states that the provider is only to pick up what is inside the can. Republic’s trucks have a driver who operates a mechanical arm that picks up the trash receptacle and dumps the garbage. The trucks do not normally have people on the back to manually pick up the garbage receptacles and any surrounding garbage items.
“Beginning 2/5/18 we will only pick up waste contained inside the waste receptacle. Additional waste receptacles are available for residents who generate additional waste. Also, “bulky items” will be picked up twice a month inside the city limits. For residents outside the city limits, bulk pick up items can be \scheduled by calling customer service,” said Voigtman.
Lumberton resident, Jamie Sims, voiced her frustrations with the service and was able to cancel and begin using another service because she lives outside the city limits. She contends that there were times she had to leave her garbage cans out for days at a time, not knowing when the truck would come by to collect it. Sims said that during the time period of December 15 through January 3, their garbage was not picked up at all.
Customer service has been another issue, according to Sims. She explained that when she contacted the corporate offices, the hold time was not long and the representatives she spoke with were polite and tried to be helpful. However, when she has called the local number, it has been a different story. She claimed that the hold times have been well over 30 minutes each time she has called and some of her exchanges with customer service representatives have been unprofessional.
Voigtman addressed the issue with customer service by providing an email for those who need assistance beyond the customer service representatives, email@example.com.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience through this acquisition and Hurricane Harvey. With the plans we have in place, we feel confident we can live up to and exceed the expectations of all of our customers in Hardin County,” he stated.