To find ways to cut costs, the United States Postal Service will no longer deliver mail to the door of new addresses. Instead, mail recipients will have their mailboxes in a centralized area. USPS announced the changes in it’s recent update to it’s Postal Operations Manual, where it made “centralized delivery” its preferred method of dropping off mail.
Letter carriers delivering mail to a cluster of mailboxes rather than each individual door allows for more efficient routes that can be completed quicker.
Those who support this change say the new policy could save the Postal Service billions of dollars annually as it continues to look for ways to reduce labor costs. However, some opposed to the new policy have argued this shift would unfairly target urban dwellers and reduce the value of mail-based advertising.
As of 2013, about one-third of U.S. addresses received door delivery, most in large cities. Those opposed to the change say delivering to clustered mailboxes in neighborhoods forces individuals to deal with safety and weather issues.
USPS also updated its manual to require addresses receiving door delivery to have their mailboxes “be grouped two to a property line, where possible”. This change to centralized delivery is USPS’s “preferred mode”, basically eliminating any other delivery method for new addresses.
“Curbside, sidewalk delivery, and door modes are generally not available for new delivery points, with very rare exceptions, as determined by the Postal Service in its’ sole discretion, on a case-by-case basis,” the agency wrote.
A bill unanimously approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee would take this a step further. The legislation would convert door delivery to curbside or clustered drop-offs. For residential addresses, door delivery would stop only if 40% of the impacted residents signed off. New home addresses would still be able to receive door delivery if their neighbors already do.
The measure has yet to receive a House vote.
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., has led the charge for a more centralized delivery. “I have long advocated for the U.S. Postal Service to make this and other common-sense reforms that have the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars and avoid massive taxpayer-funded bailouts,’ he said. “I hope this is one of many modernizations that will make the Post Office more efficient and financially stable for the future.”
Steve Kearney, executive director of the Alliance of Non-Profit Mailers, thinks the change will make the Postal Service a less valuable business enterprise. “It’s clear that operational cost savings are taking precedence over value creation, marketing, and listening to customers,” Kearney said. “The Postal Service is ready and willing to deliver packages 7 days a week but will no longer deliver letters and flats to the doors of any new housing developments.”