With millions of gifts sent for the holidays, delivery companies are trying new ways of being efficient. In several cities around Texoma, UPS is taking advantage of golf carts to deliver packages.
The Wichita Falls City Council voted to allow a waiver of a city ordinance that permits delivery companies to use the carts. City Attorney Miles Risley said Texas State Statues allow carts on roads with speed limits 35 miles per hour and under, provided the carts have several safety features.
Officials in Burkburnett say they welcome the carts on the streets. City Manager Tim James tells Newschannel 6 that Burk PD has had no complaints about the carts.
The carts – that have a distinct "weed-eater" like sound, are catching the eyes and ears of residents. "They just look like an enlarged golf cart. They can carry a lot more packages on the back, they can get around faster and I think its more economical gas wise than the big brown trucks when you make stops," observed Burk resident Maria Hickey.
She worries about the safety of the carts. "They are harder to see, but you can hear them," she said.
Newschannel 6 had to press UPS officials for information about the program. On our first request, the company declined to talk about the carts. "While we appreciate your interest, for reasons related to maintaining the security of our deliveries, we don't want to raise the public's awareness of this practice," wrote Mark Dickens with UPS Public Relations.
After another request, Dickens wrote:
We are always exploring ways to improve our efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. We have found that in some residential neighborhoods, depending on the flow of holiday package volume, it makes sense to bring a neighborhood's packages to a central collection point and then deploy helpers in golf carts or bicycles to make the actual deliveries. Such an approach obviously reduces the presence of delivery trucks moving up and down neighborhood streets while ensuring UPS can deliver everyone's holiday shipments as quickly and efficiently as possible.
We do, however, have some concerns about the potential for increased package theft during our busiest time of year, which is why we aren't proactively seeking media attention about this. Obviously you're free to pursue the story, but I hope you can understand why we feel it is potentially counterproductive to our customers living in these neighborhoods.