East Texas agencies face long waits for new fleet vehicles

East Texas agencies face long waits for new fleet vehicles
Published: Dec. 14, 2021 at 4:03 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 14, 2021 at 10:05 PM CST

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - In Texas and all around the country a vehicle inventory crunch is affecting drivers and businesses. The wait affects city governments, too.

Particularly, to Nacogdoches public works director Cary Walker. His goal of rotating well used service trucks every five years or so has come to an abrupt halt.

“The trucks we are ordering are over a year away. It’s not only affecting our pickups, but all of our fleet,” said Walker.

About 70 vehicles in all from sanitation trucks to dump and bucket trucks.

“I’ve tried to rent a bucket truck for three months. I can’t find one to rent because the contractors are buying those.”

Tipton Ford fleet manager Ray Mitchum has customers ready to buy. It’s just not happening -- even for the most basic vehicle.

“There’s just no inventory right now,” said Mitchum. So, he’s providing some advice. “It’s very imperative to plan rather than to be reactive as far as what your needs will be perhaps 8-12 months in the future today.”

The way fleet vehicles are purchased is changing too. Collective services are now offering computerized systems to make bidding easier for specific vehicles. Over the last few weeks Walker has been thinking outside the box on options for replacing aging vehicles.

“Looking at the used market, looking at rentals. Looking at vehicles that’s not white, but maybe a red one and wrapping it in white,” listed Walker.

Walker plans to turn his pickup keys over to a field employee. Walker says he can get by driving a repurposed police SUV.

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