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Complaints spike about Red River missed pickups

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — Fort Wayne neighbors and city councilmen say Red River’s poor garbage collection service is prompting more complaints.

“We should have ditched Red River a long time ago,” a fed up Cory Whitesel says.

He says he’s made more calls about Red River to 311 than he can count, and he’s thinking about driving his full cans to city hall so they’d get emptied there because he says service is so unreliable at his house.

“I’m ready to start calling around to other waste services and see if I can get them in here at least for mine to pick up. You’d pay for that? Yeah, I’d call the city and tell them to come pick up their cans,” he says.

We’ve received numerous calls and emails about spotty trash service, something Red River really struggled with when it began a seven-year contract with the city of Fort Wayne 18 months ago.

“It has been very unpredictable. Sometimes it gets picked up, sometimes it doesn’t, a lot of times it’s a day late or two days late, sometimes it has not gotten picked up at all. We’ve called several times, sometimes they come out, sometimes they don’t,” Laurie Card says.

“Surely each truck has its route. Why would you miss some things some week and not other weeks? Don’t they use GPS in this day and age or at least have a map in front that they go the same place all the time?” resident Gayle Hey asks.

Second District City Councilman Republican Russ Jehl says he wants the city administration to renegotiate Red River’s contract, saying he’s received more trash complaints lately.

“That’s in stark contrast with the administration’s line of mission accomplished and everything’s fine. We’re telling them again things are not fine and wondering why since declaring mission accomplished several months ago that there has been very little preparation for what to do if there’s a dip in service again.,” he says.

A city spokesman says red river had an extended streak of high performance over the past few months, but acknowledges after several drivers left for other jobs around Memorial Day, it created misses, although still less than one percent of the 82,000 households the company serves.

He says complaints about misses have spiked over the past two weeks because of that, but confirms Red River flew in drivers from other cities to help cover routes here.

He anticipates everyone’s trash and recycling should be picked up by the end of Saturday, and says the administration has no plans to reexamine Red River’s contract.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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