Mixed first impressions for GFL after week one

GFL's bid gets accepted by the Public Works Board.
GFL's bid gets accepted by the Public Works Board.(wpta)
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 5:07 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and for GFL environmental, their first impression has been mixed.

For George Kariger, he says half his block we’re some of those missed last Friday on the southwest side of Fort Wayne. On the first day in service for GFL, no less.

“We didn’t see any GFL trucks until about 4:30 or 5 in the neighborhood, and about 6 or 6:30 I noticed that across the street had been picked up, but we had not been picked up. We never did get picked up. They missed about 10 houses on our side of the street,” Kariger said.

Unimpressed with day one of service, Kariger says he submitted a 311 request, but due to the holiday weekend, GFL didn’t come around until the following Tuesday.

Missed Trash? Submit a request to Fort Wayne’s 311

Fort Wayne officials says they average about 75 reports a day for missed trash and recycling for the first week. On the City’s 311 website, they’ve reported 85 unresolved misses between July 1st and the 5th.

With about 25,000 houses served per day, they’ve picked up over 99 percent of houses versus the 80 percent Red River fell to in the end, according to the City.

So far, Jacob Diliberto, General Manager of GFL Fort Wayne happy with his team’s effort, saying “The collection rate of 99.9% is a very high level of success with the short amount of time table, with the complication of these routes. So, on a macro side, whatever kind of misses that have occurred in Fort Wayne actually have been substantially less than in other municipalities where it’s the first time someone’s hauling in that town. So, I think it’s a very, very strong start.”

Matt Gratz with the Solid Waste Department in Fort Wayne says part of the problem is they had to bid the job out so quickly that GFL drivers haven’t had enough time to learn their routes.

“Normally, when we bid out a contract of this size, the contractor would have eight months to a year to prep and get ready to go out and find those alleys, those tight alleys and have that all taken care of at the start,” Gratz said. “But with such a short lead time, they’re having to kind of learn on the fly a little bit.”

From Bruce Chwalek’s perspective, GFL have gone above and beyond in week one. As he was riding his bike through his north side neighborhood, he saw some of the streets were under water yesterday, and it was his neighborhood’s pickup day.

“Next thing I know I see the GFL truck coming. I see a couple residents out there on the sidewalk wondering is this guy going to stop in this deep water and everything? And he didn’t he just kept on going, but when got to the other side of the ponded area, he did stop, he walked back, and you know it was very humid and everything and I thought, wow this guy is going above and beyond.Then he had to wheel them probably 300 foot or so, back to his truck to dump them.” Chwalek explained.

Most people we spoke with have been frustrated, but fairly understanding of the misses given it’s only the first week, including Kariger, who hasn’t lost faith in GFL just yet, saying “We’ll how they do tomorrow, if they come. I suspect they’ll do a good job.”

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