Is it finally time for the end of door-to-door postal delivery?

posted at 8:41 pm on July 24, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

I won’t hold my breath — the recent attempt to save some of the $25 million the United States Postal Service currently bleeds every day by eliminating most Saturday delivery was quashed by unions and their buddies in Congress earlier this year — but House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa has been struggling to work with the vociferous opponents of USPS-reform. The latest effort to cut costs at the financially unsustainable agency includes another new plan to cut out the relatively high expenses of door-to-door delivery and instead move to curbside or centralized delivery methods:

On July 19, 2013 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., introduced H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013.

“The commonsense reforms in this legislation will restore the United States Postal Service to long-term financial solvency while maintaining high-quality universal service for all Americans,” said Chairman Issa. “The legislation incorporates reforms offered by members of both sides of the aisle and builds upon months of bipartisan and bicameral discussions.”

Issa released a discussion draft of the Postal Reform Act in June. The Committee received dozens of comments from stakeholders, including members of Congress both on and off the Committee. A list of changes incorporated into the introduced version of the bill can be found here.

The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee on Postal Reform, and Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., who cosponsored the Postal Reform Act in the 112th congress.

Here are some deets, via CBS News:

According to the committee, 28 percent of addresses now receive “to the door” service, while 42 percent receive curbside mail delivery and 30 percent received centralized delivery. The Postal Reform Act would require “to the door” service to be phased out over 10 years, saving an estimated $4 billion per year.

“A balanced approach to saving the Postal Service means allowing USPS to adapt to America’s changing use of mail,” said committee chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who introduced the legislation.

In a report released in 2011, the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General found that door-to-door delivery costs more than $353 per delivery point in cities, compared to $224 for curbside service and $161 for centralized service. There was a similar disparity in rural areas.

Delivering mail to 152 addresses – including 37.8 million that receive “to the door” service – is the largest fixed cost faced by the Postal Service, at more than $30 billion per year. In an email to CBS News, the Postal Service noted that while mail volume has fallen from 213.1 billion pieces in 2006 to 160 billion today, “changes in delivery costs are not proportionate to changes in mail volume. The letter carrier goes to each address every day, in most cases, whether he is delivering one piece of mail or ten.”

I’ve recently noticed commercials about the many virtues and necessities of the USPS sponsored by none other than the AFLCIO running across my television screen, and the relevant unions are up in arms about how Americans cannot possibly afford to eliminate a single service offered by USPS because they are all absolutely essential — and while they’re all quick to tout that the USPS doesn’t directly receive any taxpayer funding, they have completely exhausted their line of credit from the U.S. Treasury and, without serious reform, will no doubt be looking for a bailout someday soon.


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everyone and their cousin is posting this same non-story feigning doom… that won’t happen. link bait anyone?

Kaptain Amerika on July 24, 2013 at 8:47 PM

…no!…just do it a few times a week…

KOOLAID2 on July 24, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Really ? How the hell is that going to happen ? They proposed just stopping delivery on Saturday and the entire country flipped out.

deadrody on July 24, 2013 at 8:52 PM

How about we do away with Postal unions and instantly deliver the mail for half the cost ? It ain’t rocket science.

deadrody on July 24, 2013 at 8:54 PM

If my gubmint check don’t come right to my door, yo… I is going to snap and get on my obamaphone and call the CBC.
/

wolly4321 on July 24, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Wasn’t until the end of the 19th Century that the Post Office started to deliver mail door to door…and only in select parts of major cities…i.e., wealthy patrons. In smaller towns across America, not until well after WWI did this begin. I have in my collection letters addressed “Mr. B. Smith, Akron, Ohio” or “Mrs. Peabody, Spokane, Washington” from after WWII. Rural delivery used to cost more, the recipient of the mail had to pay a fee.

Mail was intended to be sent Post to Post…and the recipient was required to go to the local Post Office and inquire as to mail…general delivery…or they had the means, they rented post office boxes.

Will this pass?

I doubt it. If it does, it may be the death knell for the USPS, though.

BTW, according to the last “audit” of the USPS, the USPS has two employees for every postal delivery vehicle it owns or leases. or is it two vehicles for every employee? Cannot remember.

If this no door-to-door passes…what are the USPS employees supposed to do? Watch other employees sort mail?

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 8:59 PM

If Congress really wants to help the Post Office get out of it’s financial mess then they should repeal the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that requires the Post Office to prefund their healthcare for 75 years at a cost of $5.5 billion a year.

SoulGlo on July 24, 2013 at 9:03 PM

what are the USPS employees supposed to do? Watch other employees sort mail?

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 8:59 PM

You mean they don’t already do that?

GrannyDee on July 24, 2013 at 9:03 PM

quashed by unions and their buddies in Congress

As a letter carrier of 25 years (now retired), I’ve seen postal unions fight every single proposal to improve service & efficiency for my entire career.

If you look up “irrational” in an illustrated dictionary, you’ll see a photo of a postal union official next to the definition.

itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM

Odd. we are living in a time when a live concert can be streamed directly to you. Here we are asking about post office home delivery. Irony. Simply press Live Now.

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:12 PM

According to the committee, 28 percent of addresses now receive “to the door” service, while 42 percent receive curbside mail delivery and 30 percent received centralized delivery.

These stats surely refer to residential customers only.

If they take “to the door” service from businesses, many of them will turn even more to UPS, FedEx, & others for their shipping needs.

itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:15 PM

The latest effort to cut costs at the financially unsustainable agency includes another new plan to cut out the relatively high expenses of door-to-door delivery and instead move to curbside or centralized delivery methods:

I live in a historic district. We get our mail through slots in the front door. Curbside is out as an option. Centralized might be a possibility but, frankly, I don’t see either proposal as a plus for customers. Curbside and centralized is essentially trying to figure out ways that mail persons don’t have to leave their vehicle.

It is much more rational and efficient to limit all customers to three days a week and cut down on the number of deliverers.

Happy Nomad on July 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM

End door to door service? Are you kidding?

If you do that, how in the world will Eric Cantor keep in touch with me, and WTF will be the purpose of Congressional franking?

Good Lord. These people are insane.

Would I lose my tax deduction for two of my dependents, Resident and Occupant?

BobMbx on July 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM

According to the committee, 28 percent of addresses now receive “to the door” service, while 42 percent receive curbside mail delivery and 30 percent received centralized delivery.

Most of the 28% are in old neighborhoods.
Therefore, most of them are in poor, run-down areas.

Convert their delivery to centralized, & there will be a lot of broken-into mailboxes on government check days.

itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Odd. we are living in a time when a live concert can be streamed directly to you. Here we are asking about post office home delivery. Irony. Simply press Live Now.

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:12 PM

The postal service needs to do what its equivalents in other countries have done and expand into new delivery business lines. For example, why not offer a service for mail scanning and electronic delivery? Give people an option to pick up their mail at a neighborhood location or pay a fee for scanning and online transmission.

If other revenue streams can’t be found, the end of Saturday delivery will seem minor compared to what will eventually be necessary to keep the USPS solvent.

bayam on July 24, 2013 at 9:19 PM

Tell me that isn’t some awesome pipe organ delivered right to your doorstep.

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I don’t know what my opinion is on ending dor-to-door service. Mine comes at the slot on the porch and I get about two bills a month and I know when they come. Everything else is junk, so I make sure to go out when the bills come but the rest of the time the stuff usually just sits there until I come out for the bill or for some other reason.

The might be two weeks. I have a box on the porch where everything else goes when I come out. When that’s filled, I stack it in the basement to burn when winter arrives.

If they go central office pick up, what will the PO do if I don’t pick up mail for two weeks? Can I leave them a box to throw the useless stuff into?

Dusty on July 24, 2013 at 9:20 PM

I’d rather eliminate the pre-funding of Postal Service healthcare benefits and also reduce the overall benefits associated with it.

Now let’s look at how this example applies to the Postal Service. Until 2006, the USPS handled its retiree health benefits on a “pay as you go” basis. They weren’t pre-funded; the service simply paid retirees’ health bills as they arose, reporting only those expenses. Because the cost of actually providing health care to retirees in a given year is less than the value of benefits current workers are accruing, that meant the post office was understating the cost of retiree health care.

Then in 2006, Congress forced the post office to start prefunding its benefits for retiree health care on a schedule designed to reach full funding in 10 years. Now, the Postal Service is supposed to put about $8 billion a year toward retiree health care.

But the so-called “normal cost” of health benefits — the value of the benefits current postal employees are accruing this year, the equivalent of Steve’s $5,000 — is only about $3 billion. To the extent the post office pays the other $5 billion, that shouldn’t be counted as an expense; it is going to pay off the Postal Service’s debts.

Stoic Patriot on July 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Endless Pit,me thinks!

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:12 PM

if we all had tele-transporters, perhaps. I’ve yet to find a way to receive my discrete plain brown wrapper parcels through my modem.

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

I don’t think they are solvent currently bayam. How about that pipe organ though? Wonderful!

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:22 PM

As a letter carrier of 25 years (now retired), I’ve seen postal unions fight every single proposal to improve service & efficiency for my entire career.

itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM

I had a job where I was working with individuals from all sorts of federal agencies. The worst by far was the USPS. Because of the union, they had the most arcane and arbitrary rules about what their people could do. And the front line union reps were clearly in it for the union and only for the union.

The carriers themselves were pretty down to earth and hard working but their union- no love lost as far as I’m concerned.

Happy Nomad on July 24, 2013 at 9:22 PM

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Soon you will just print them out at home. Whatever they are?!?! Ick?

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:24 PM

This fellow is very good.

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Odd. we are living in a time when a live concert can be streamed directly to you. Here we are asking about post office home delivery. Irony. Simply press Live Now.

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Bmore:

Organ Recital eh,and here I thought A Weiner Parody was about to
unfold!:)
(sarc)

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Olivier Latry

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Lol! Who me? ; )

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:12 PM

if we all had tele-transporters, perhaps. I’ve yet to find a way to receive my discrete plain brown wrapper parcels through my modem.

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

coldwarrior:

You’ll Go Blind!:)
(sarc)

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:27 PM

My better half lucked up. I had to stay here. ; )

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Most of the 28% are in old neighborhoods.
Therefore, most of them are in poor, run-down areas.

Convert their delivery to centralized, & there will be a lot of broken-into mailboxes on government check days.

[itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM]

Oh, when they talk about centralized pick up, are they implying a big stack of boxes on posts at some street corner or something?

If that’s the option, then can I just opt out of mail delivery? If not I’ll just screw a plate over mine with the notice “NOT A VALID ADDRESS” stamped on it.

Dusty on July 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Lol! Who me? ; )

Bmore on July 24, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Bmore:Hehe,I’m funning,er,laughing with ya!:)

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:34 PM

According to the committee, 28 percent of addresses now receive “to the door” service, while 42 percent receive curbside mail delivery and 30 percent received centralized delivery.

Most of the 28% are in old neighborhoods.
Therefore, most of them are in poor, run-down areas.

Convert their delivery to centralized, & there will be a lot of broken-into mailboxes on government check days.

itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM

Oh, when they talk about centralized pick up, are they implying a big stack of boxes on posts at some street corner or something?

If that’s the option, then can I just opt out of mail delivery? If not I’ll just screw a plate over mine with the notice “NOT A VALID ADDRESS” stamped on it.

Dusty on July 24, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Yup, that’s exactly what they mean.

You can get a post office box, but it’ll cost you.

itsnotaboutme on July 24, 2013 at 9:48 PM

What? Walk down the street for my pizza coupons and mattress flyers that go directly into the trash?

That’s not the America I know. That’s not even Mexico.

NoDonkey on July 24, 2013 at 9:49 PM

You’ll Go Blind!:)
(sarc)

canopfor on July 24, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Probably go deaf first…too many screamers…and my name is not O. Jesus.
.
.
.
:-)

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Never gonna happen. I wish the Postal Service would go away and replaced with privatization.

Philly on July 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM

I’ve been seeing commercials from the postal workers’ union saying that delivering the mail does not cost the US taxpayer a dime since it is all funded by postage. They conveniently fail to mention that the taxpayer is on the hook for their lucrative pension plan.

Kafir on July 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Kafir on July 24, 2013 at 10:22 PM

Yep. Saw those as well.

I do a bit of mailing, here and overseas. Fellow collectors or people I sell stuff to online…and I use stamps, not metered mail. Customary to use stamps when corresponding with a stamp collector. I rarely if ever use “Forever” stamps. I do use a lot of older stamps, back when postage was 15, or 25 cents an ounce, or even older stamps than that. They all were paid for decades ago.

Still valid for postage. Just have to make sure you have the current postage per ounce on the envelope. My overseas correspondents love them.

In the past several years I have provided the USPS with almost zero funds.

The funds were given to them 20 or more years ago.

If they squandered my contribution, that is not my concern. I did my part…or someone else did who originally acquired the postage stamps I use.

All perfectly legal and above board.

Guess that makes me a bad person.

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Anything to protect overpromised, overpaid pensions.

rdbrewer on July 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM

When will they be going back to horses? More “green” ya know!

IrishEyes on July 24, 2013 at 10:45 PM

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 10:30 PM

You sound like my husband (a Stamp Collector).

I still make him buy Forever stamps for my bills, though.

Can’t see wasting the good ones on bills.

Barred on July 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Barred on July 24, 2013 at 10:50 PM

Oughta see the looks of the other postal patrons when I drop off mail at the counter…to make sure the postmarks are done correctly.

Had one lady a few months ago say aloud, “Are you allowed to use old stamps like that? I thought when they raised the rats the old stamps could not be used anymore.”

Stopped everything in that post office…cold…the silence as everybody turned and looked at the woman was, well, what’s that old maxim, better to remain silent and have people think you wise, than to open one’s mouth and prove otherwise?

coldwarrior on July 24, 2013 at 11:02 PM

My bills are e-mail.
My rent is even e-mail (started last year).
My personal correspondence? E-mail.

The only thing I get in my mailbox that isn’t directly sent to the circular file is my NetFlix DVDs… and they send me an e-mail telling me when they will show up in my mailbox (so I could pick them up from the post office, knowing which day to check for them).

Pre-NetFlix I’ve had “nastygrams” from the post office informing me if I don’t get my mail more often than twice a month they’ll quit delivering. And they marked me as “moved out” once when I didn’t get mail for a month.

But I don’t get any mail I’d care to have more than twice a month. I can’t see an issue where them delivering less often or leaving my mail at the post office in any way significantly inconveniences me.

gekkobear on July 25, 2013 at 12:06 AM

The only solution: Each carrier to have two routes; RT1: Delivery MON WED FRI, RT2: Delivery TUES THURS SAT. Then fire 1/2 of the carriers.

Result 1/2 the carriers, 1/2 the delivery vehicles.

Huge savings to the USPS, minor inconvenience to the people, major inconvenience to the postal union. WIN WIN WIN.

Dasher on July 25, 2013 at 12:17 AM

Not getting mail everyday will suck for those of us who rent DVDs from Netflix to save money. I need the mail everyday so I can know I will get the new movie or t.v. show in 2 days. Also for me, I like getting mags. like Sports illustrated with my mail.

BroncosRock on July 25, 2013 at 1:08 AM

The USPS needs to adjust their benefits for retirees. I’m thinking a contribution format like a 401K (not that I think those are going to be solvent for much longer, but anyway…).

These people are retirees…most of them are old…they will die before long…they won’t be paid after they die (but with this corrupt inefficient government, who knows?).

These retirement deals can be redone to address the newer generations of workers at all levels of government. And, no, they won’t be as sweet as they once were.

For the record, I like regular post service. I think it’s ignorant and regressive not to have it, and is one of the minimal things that government should indeed make available for its citizens.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 25, 2013 at 1:34 AM

My bills are e-mail.
My rent is even e-mail (started last year).
My personal correspondence? E-mail.

The only thing I get in my mailbox that isn’t directly sent to the circular file is my NetFlix DVDs… and they send me an e-mail telling me when they will show up in my mailbox (so I could pick them up from the post office, knowing which day to check for them).

Pre-NetFlix I’ve had “nastygrams” from the post office informing me if I don’t get my mail more often than twice a month they’ll quit delivering. And they marked me as “moved out” once when I didn’t get mail for a month.

But I don’t get any mail I’d care to have more than twice a month. I can’t see an issue where them delivering less often or leaving my mail at the post office in any way significantly inconveniences me.

gekkobear on July 25, 2013 at 12:06 AM

have the same problem, they listed my unit as vacant because I didn’t collect my mail.

RonK on July 25, 2013 at 2:43 AM

What do you think is better for the environment and city traffic: One person walking or driving to maybe 500 mailboxes every day, or 500 people driving to a single traffic jammed distribution point (post office) every day. The people that want to discontinue deliveries are surely either dumb or short sighted.

What about us getting rid of the junk mail? I get a dozen flyers and solicitations from “reputable” insurance companies a week. I get solicitations from every known and unknown veterans organizations and supporting organizations a week. Add that to Rachael from “credit card services” twice daily calls, and you maybe have a point. If we get rid of the post office, then let’s get rid of the telephone and e-mail. That way, we wont have to listen and put up with all the inane librul pronounciations and pontifications. Let’s get rid of cable and broadcast news and talk shows, America has talent, etc. Just let us live in peace.

Old Country Boy on July 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM

For the record, I like regular post service. I think it’s ignorant and regressive not to have it, and is one of the minimal things that government should indeed make available for its citizens.

Dr. ZhivBlago on July 25, 2013 at 1:34 AM

I do too, but don’t you think if FedEx and UPS formed a joint venture they could get it done more efficiently?

The problem here is that it is illegal to compete with the USPS. Why? Because someone did it once, did a better job for less money, and Congress reacted. That needs to go away.

Kafir on July 25, 2013 at 8:21 AM

What do you think is better for the environment and city traffic: One person walking or driving to maybe 500 mailboxes every day, or 500 people driving to a single traffic jammed distribution point (post office) every day. The people that want to discontinue deliveries are surely either dumb or short sighted.
Old Country Boy on July 25, 2013 at 8:17 AM

500 people won’t go to the post office every day. 500 people will go to the post office once or twice a week (or once or twice a month).

cptacek on July 25, 2013 at 10:10 AM

LOL people that think that we should but delivery or just let the post office die just never seem to understand the dynamics.

One of the most glaring one always has been that in order to do ANYTHING it has to get approval from congress to do it.
Add unions into the mix… this company more or less is set to fail until at least one of these problems is fixed. I like USPS, in fact I would rather pay and extra dollar or tow for shipping to have them do it. UPS and fedex have always been nothing but problems. UPS loves to hold packages so if you have a day or 2 left on “expected” delivery….wrong delivery to addies …

watertown on July 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Kafir on July 25, 2013 at 8:21 AM

The former IPSA.

Made the mistake of issuing “postage stamps.” Had they used metered labels, they may have prevailed.

The biggest sponsor of the effort to quash IPSA was…the US Letter Carriers Union.

No surprise there.

coldwarrior on July 25, 2013 at 10:28 AM

They proposed just stopping delivery on Saturday and the entire country flipped out.

Not the entire country, just the unions. I have only had one customer tell me they want to keep Saturday delivery. Most could care less.

IamJBart on July 25, 2013 at 2:20 PM