You tell me how something with a 10′ wide scoop, can take 33 minutes to clear a playground basketball court? At 15 seconds a pass, that’s 4 passes a minute. You would need 10 passes to clear the court. A playground basketball court is about 100 feet wide. He could clear it in 10 passes with a plow 10 feet wide. So if it should take 4 minutes, why is it taking 33?
All they have is an elementary school parking lot and a bus drive at Meeker (and the aforementioned basketball court). Intellectually I can’t wrap my head around how it takes them 5 hours to clear it of snow. The bus drive is 25 feet wide and a hundred yards long. The parking lot is about 150 feet by 240 feet. And the plow has a 10 feet wide scoop. So at 10 mph it takes about 12 seconds to go 100 yards (300 feet).
So those 3 areas total 53,000 square feet. So with a scoop 10 feet wide that would be the equivalent of 1 pass 5,300 feet long, or 1 mile. At 10 mph, that would take 6 minutes to go 1 mile. So why does it take them closer to 5 hours, to do 6 minutes worth of work?
Because you can’t just plow in a straight line once. You have “spillover” from all but very few plows that require you to go back. So double the 6 minutes to 12. You have stopping and turning. You have backing up. You have light poles, islands, and basketball hoop poles and such, add 10% you’re up to 14 minutes. Say I miscalculated and the average speed is closer to 5 mph instead of 10 mph, so you double the 14 minutes to 1/2 an hour or 30 minutes.
That’s about what it would take a “guy with a pickup” to do it. Add 15 minutes and you have the 1 hour that it predicts it would take at a “plow site”. No kidding they have these sites where you plug in the numbers of the area, so you know what to bid on a proposed job. They base plow projections on an acre (45 minutes per acre). There is 43,560 square feet in an acre. So Meeker Elementary is roughly 1.25 acres. So based on commercial plow calculation sites of 45 minutes an acre, that’s about 1 hour for an experienced driver to plow 1 and a quarter acres. So why is it taking school employees 5 times that?
One reason is they only plow in 1 direction. I’m not kidding you. In the example of the bus drive 100 yards long, he backs up 100 yards with the blade up. Doing nothing. A commercial guy would turn around and plow back the other way. His plow would virtually be on the ground the whole time plowing. So that means that when it takes school employees almost 5 hours, 2.5 hours of that is with the plow up, not doing anything.
So because they only plow in 1 direction, that means they would actually do it in 2.5 hours, if they had the blade on the ground the whole time, plowing in both directions. So now we’re down to 90 minutes more than what it would take a commercial driver. The missing 90 minutes.
Part of that can be explained why they were plowing on a Sunday evening at all. Why not just wait till Monday morning? The weekend is overtime. Sunday is a 10% differential on top of that. So by doing it Sunday night they get overtime, plus 10% Sunday differential, plus 10% night differential. So instead of just time and a half (150% of pay), its 150%, plus 10%, plus 10%, or 170% of pay for doing it Sunday night.
When you have that kind of monetary incentive to be slow, you are slow. You only plow in one direction. You’re sloppy with the spillover so you have to keep going over the same area, despite the fact with that type of scoop plow, there doesn’t have to be any spillover at all, you could have a clean pass every time.
But we still don’t know where the missing 90 minutes went (not that there is any excuse to only plow in one direction, or having your blade on the ground 50% of the time). So its actually 4 hours we’re missing, but let’s play their game anyway. The bottom line is a commercial drive could do the job 5 times, that they take to do once.
Clearing snow at night (bedtime), is a noisy and visually distracting (all the yellow flashing lights) 5 hours. Not to mention, by taking 5 times longer than it should, they are gouging the taxpayer to pay for their foolishness. So say for our purposes the snow removal costs for the schools should be $200,000 dollars, because of their deliberate time wasting, its costing the taxpayers of Ames $1,000,000 dollars.