Team de Blasio seems to be finally admitting the flaws in its plan to create mini-monopolies for commercial-waste haulers. Alas, there’s no sign it’ll throw in the towel any time soon.
Under the Sanitation Department’s original scheme, haulers would’ve gotten an exclusive right to operate in a given zone, with no competition. Now, says spokeswoman Belinda Mager, officials are “working to finalize a plan that will include a non-exclusive system.” Well, it’s progress.
The argument for limiting trash pickups to just one company per zone was that it would cut down on the trucks needed — reducing pollution, noise, etc.
But shielding carters from competition would be a disaster for their customers, leaving them unable to take their business elsewhere if dissatisfied with their service. And carters would feel pressure to suck up to pols (and fork over campaign contributions) for the right to a monopoly zone.
No wonder the haulers, their customers and unions all opposed that plan. The haulers also complain the city has limited their input in addressing alleged problems.
Yet now, it seems, the de Blasio folks have learned from the mess a similar plan triggered in Los Angeles, where options vanished, prices soared and complaints skyrocketed: So they’re willing to step back and open the zones to multiple haulers.
But doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Indeed, it’s not clear how the new plan, with haulers competing, would differ from the current system, except perhaps for the creation of (largely meaningless) zones.
“This plan will make the industry safer and still allow for much-improved efficiency in truck route mileage,” says Mager.
Yes, there’s room for improvement in the carting trade, particularly on safety. But Plan 2.0 just seems like an effort to save face after criticism (from folks like us).
Better just to, uh, trash the idea altogether, start over — and work closely with the industry to find workable fixes. Oh, and, unlike now, make everything public, so rotten ideas won’t get as far as this one has.
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