PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a summer of trash woes due to the pandemic, the Philadelphia Streets Department has unveiled a tool to give residents up-to-the-moment updates. For months this summer, Philadelphia residents have had to deal with mounds and pounds of rotting garbage during pandemic-related trash delays.
Now, on the first day of fall, Mayor Jim Kenney says the city is now officially back on track. And with that comes a new GPS system that will show the public pickup in real-time.
“Our GPS system allows us to check every truck we have out in the fleet today, what you see in front of you are grids of Philadelphia,” said Streets Department Commissioner Carlton Williams.
City officials say with more people home, the percentage of trash has been consistently greater since the pandemic began, about 25% higher in Philadelphia.
“We’re averaging 3,000 tons more per week. Some weeks are more than five to six more tons, as you can see in July when the pandemic hit its height,” Williams said.
In July, when trash was at its peak, staffing levels plummeted to its lowest. Williams says the city hired 150 part-time employees to supplement the need. Since then, the city went from over 6,000 calls to 311 in July, to now hundreds for both trash and recycling combined.
The city is also utilizing technology and GPS in order to be more efficient and monitor routes on its new web mapping tool, StreetSmartPHL, for residents.
“The green lines represent rubbish pickup or trash pickup, blue lines represent recycling trucks on the route, and yellow lines represent both recycling and trash that have been visited on a route today. What we show is visits and that shows trash has been collected on that block on any given day.” Williams said.
Even with the upgraded system, you will still need to utilize the phone for certain needs.
The StreetSmartPHL tool will go into effect next Thursday, Oct 1.
Then you’ll be able to see collection in real-time. Keep in mind, you still need to call 311 for bulk item pickup or to make complaints.