New garbage trucks need repairs

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city paid $7.5 million for 20 new refuse trucks to replace older trucks in the fleet. They went on the road in March.

But after only four months, breakdowns, malfunctions and maintenance took several out of circulation. Recently, seven needed repairs all at once.

The city Dept. of Facility Maintenance is rushing to get them back on the job.

"We've lifted any restrictions on our employees working overtime on these vehicles. We're doing whatever we can to get the parts and materials shipped here on site, even if we have to air freight it," director Westley Chun said.

The city calls most of the fixes minor bugs. But one of the new trucks blew its transmission, and malfunctions with engine warning lights on others necessitated pulling them off the road. Plus, parts for some repairs have been hard to get.

Chun has told the manufacturer about the issues.

"We sent our automotive equipment services division chief up to their factory to discuss these issues with them. so the next vehicles will be that much better when they're delivered," he said.

The city gets eleven more trucks this year and nine more in the coming fiscal year.

Mcneilus makes them at its plant in Minnesota. The city pays $376,000 per refuse truck.

Chun said wear and tear is expected because the trucks are under stress.

"Going through the route faster does create some problems," he said.

On Tuesday, three of the new trucks were on the repair line at HT & T Truck Center. The work is under warranty so it's not costing taxpayers, but it is inconveniencing residents by contributing to delays in trash collections.

When a rubbish truck needs fixing, it collects dust instead of trash.

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