From: Delivering For America
Door-to-door mail delivery is part of our American experience – the thrill of receiving that special package or piece of mail delivered straight to our front doors by a USPS letter carrier. Whether it’s a crucial business delivery or a wedding invitation, the Postal Service literally goes the very last mile to ensure the mail is delivered, swiftly and reliably.
Yet some have been pushing to eliminate door-to-door delivery, alleging that it would save the Postal Service money. Phasing out door-to-door delivery is an element of the postal reform legislation pending in the House of Representatives and has also been discussed in the Senate.
What the proponents of such legislation fail to admit is that doing away with door-to-door delivery just doesn’t make sense.
Converting to cluster boxes or switching addresses that currently receive to-the-door delivery to curbside mailboxes would be a disruption for Americans who have come to count on the door-to-door delivery they already have, in particular mail customers who are elderly or disabled, managing with limited mobility.
And such a conversion would likely hurt mail volumes and revenue as well by driving more business away. According to a 2010 USPS action plan, around 15 to 20 percent of small and mid-sized businesses surveyed said they would likely reduce mail volume by at least 10 percent with a switch in delivery modes, out of concerns that such a move “would undermine the convenience and intimacy of mail.” For businesses that use advertising mail, 9 percent said they might reduce their use of direct mail by 20 percent or more. Reductions like these would likely eat away at Postal Service profits and eliminate the touted cost savings of centralized delivery.
Phasing out door delivery would have other negative implications, too — like the loss of the important personal connection that comes with door-to-door delivery. Because letter carriers deliver directly to people’s homes six days a week, they get to know the customers on their routes, and in many cases they are the first to spot when something is out of the ordinary. There are numerous tales of heroic letter carriers who have gone above and beyond their job description by taking action in times of crisis and thus providing a crucial ingredient for a safer, more interconnected community.
Whenever the debate to phase out door-to-door delivery emerges, the United States needs look no further than to our neighbors to the north for a valuable case study against pursuing such legislation. Canada’s postal service recently announced a plan to phase out urban home delivery over the next five years in favor of a move towards community cluster boxes — and unsurprisingly, the decision is proving unpopular with the Canadian public.
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