Postal service Door-to-door mail delivery could soon be a thing of the past as House lawmakers look for more service cuts. The cuts are needed to help the independent agency stay afloat.
In a bill introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) earlier this month, he proposes an alternate centralized delivery system, which would transition away from the traditional door-to-door practices that allow many Americans to receive mail directly at their residences. Taking input from patrons and local officials, the bill says the Postal Service would be tasked with establishing new delivery points where groups of people would have their mail delivered.
“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 Issa in a release. “The legislation incorporates reforms offered by members of both sides of the aisle and builds upon months of bipartisan and bicameral discussions.”
According to CNN Money, the Postal Service has already begun heading in the direction of centralized mail delivery for new community developments, industrial parks and shopping malls. CNN reports that the change could lead to huge savings for the agency:
Right now, 35 million residences and businesses get mail delivered to their doorstep.
It costs $353 per stop for a delivery in most American cities, taking into account such things as salaries and cost of transport. By contrast, curbside mail box delivery costs $224, while cluster boxes cost $160, according to a report from the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.
Delivering mail is the agency’s largest fixed cost — $30 billion. Ending such door deliveries would save $4.5 billion a year.
The sweeping proposal comes as the Postal Service continues to post concerning numbers. The agency lost $1.9 billion in the second quarter of 2013, and $1.3 billion in the previous quarter, all on top of its already considerable existing debt obligations.
Lawmakers recently pushed an end to Saturday delivery as a possible solution — a move that could save up to $3 billion annually — but Postal Service advocates have repeatedly opposed the move, citing concerns with having to adjust labor contracts and service to rural areas and the elderly.
An end to door-to-door service has also been included in past Postal Service reform efforts, but was rejected in part due to concerns that it would make mail retrieval difficult for certain patrons.