Posted by envision remaining in the first world, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 9:57 am
People are mailing less because of the economy, but it would be wrong to say mail volume is down because of the internet. In 2006, the postal service saw its highest mail volume ever in its history, long after the internet honed in on letter mail. The internet also increased package mail.
That year the rightwing Congress also put huge, nonsensical restrictions on the postal service that made it impossible for them to remain fiscally sound, and they knew it.
"Changes must be made so that the postal service can pay $5.5 billion it owes to its retiree health-benefit program and so that it can have cash reserves,..." This is not to pay for existing retirees. This is to PRE-FUND for future retirees that may or may not even be.
I don't think the postal service should cut Saturday service, because that's what makes it competitive over the other services which don't delivery on Saturday.
I like the postal service. None of the other services offers the same kind of in-store service. None of the others takes letter mail, or has such good rates for small packages. I think in particular, our Palo Alto carriers do a really good job.
Why doesn't the postal service offer other services that could make money, such as a "virtual address" -- something that works like a street address that can be used online for commerce if people don't want to use their home addresses online for privacy? (USPS would ideally partner with UPS and FEDEX over this, so that people don't have to post their home address indelibly for the whole world in order to post an address online.) It would make forwarding -- permanently -- a snap, too.
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 10:44 am
In the UK there is strong talk about the banking industry doing away with check clearance altogether, although this has been delayed. What it would mean is that all banking, bill sending and paying, for all customers would have to be done online or by texting (a system not really used here).
To counter this the UK Post Office would be turned into bill paying offices for those who have no computer facility at home or know how. As it is the UK Post Offices are already places where what we do here at the DMV, Social Security Office, as well as other services are carried out.
The Post Office here will have to evolve into another type of service to keep up with modern life. I don't think that home delivery services will ever end, at least for the next few decades, but the way we use it may evolve. The physical Post Office building should evolve into a communications center using internet services for small businesses and some family needs as well as perhaps taking on some of the additional roles of say car registration, voter registration, social security and benefit requests to keep them viable.
Out of the box thinking is required, not more of the same.
And on another note, I think the PA Utilities must be doing its part in keeping mail secure in Palo Alto with all the mail it sends out on a regular basis!
Posted by wish my job offered such great benefits, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm
Changes must be made so that the postal service can pay $5.5 billion it owes to its retiree health-benefit program and so that it can have cash reserves, according to the President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction.
if they didn't have such lucrative benefits, others could have a job longer. while USP retirees can feel secure in having great benefits, other people with families will no longer have a job, let alone some sort of medical benefits. in some ways they brought it on themselves...a low tech job with great pay and benefits. has the USP considered cutting benefits?
just check out some of their benefits now...wish i received 4 weeks vacation after just 3 years on the job!!
Posted by Emigrated Brit, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm
There are new programs presently being developed which will allow you to mail a letter and/or checks over the internet by using your regular mailing address and a password - that will make the mail service as we know it obsolete.
Saturday deliveries should end immediately because it will allow the Post Office to reduce staff and overtime costs which otherwise must be organized to cover six days of deliveries. Also, post offices should be closed; high rents for the physical locations (such as the new post office on Main Street in Los Altos) are bankrupting the service.
Meanwhile, some European countries have privatized their post offices so the government is no longer involved. Britain has closed many of it's rural post offices and reduced postal delivery in rural areas to once a week, which is forcing people to get internet savvy.
Incidentally, rural areas in the UK get garbage collection once a month and you are encouraged to compost tea leaves, coffee grounds and waste food.
Posted by anonymous, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm
Why don't they try (not a super drastic) step A - eliminate Sat. service, get a quick read on results (cost savings, customer feedback, etc.) and THEN go on to more drastic steps. I am not ready to close down US Postal Service.
Posted by anciana, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm
I think the post office does a great job. Really, it's fantastic how accurate they are given the billion or more pieces of mail they deal with every year.
Also, the mailman is a presence in the neighborhood. A human being who comes almost every day, who can notice changes, who can help some of us ancianas if we're having trouble. I read recently that a mailman saved the life of a woman. He noticed that she wasn't picking up her mail and got the police to come. They found her on the floor, in time to save her life.
Posted by Lucien, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm
Moving folks around to other jobs in the USPS when closing post offices or ending Saturday service is not going to cut costs. The only way to do that is cut jobs and benefits to be on a par with industry standards.
BTW I'm white, I speak and read English fluently and I'm great with numbers, but for some reason that seems to be a disqualification when I apply for a postal job.
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Sep 23, 2011 at 6:51 pm
Em commented on mailcarriers high pay. What is that high pay, ballpark figure?
We have a lousy mailman, sorry to say. He forgets things, then comes back super late to deliver what he forgot, chats waaaay too long w/people & is often on personal calls on his cell. He's scared all out of proportion of dogs (what comes first, a future mail carrier being born scared of dogs, or becoming scared while doing their job? It's a chicken & egg question, methinks).
Overall, though, I like the USPS but it needs some, ahem, innovation, at least in high population areas. I wish it was like the Rita Mae Brown books, but it's not like that in Sili Valley or any other major met area.
Posted by waste not, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Sep 23, 2011 at 10:19 pm
Our postal carriers - it seems to be a different person every day - drive the mail truck from house to house. Stop and turn off the engine at every house. Drop the mail (often the wrong mail) in the slot, then walk empty-handed back down the short residential driveway to fire that engine back up and drive 25 feet to the next driveway. Perhaps THIS waste of gas and vehicle wear and tear is anther reason the USPS is out of money.
Our service is terrible. We always get mail when we HOLD our mail on a vacation. We did not get mail for a week when we moved houses. We often get our neighbors mail. It goes on. Perhaps the delivery would be more accurate if the postal carriers weren't breathing all those truck fumes from stopping and starting their truck every 25 feet.
Posted by weneedapostalservice, a resident of the College Terrace neighborhood, on Sep 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm
Joseph E. Davis: "Just another in a seemingly infinite series of institutions destroyed by the greed of public sector unions..."
No, destroyed by the cream-skimmer and cherry-picker companies who will gladly deliver packages for top dollar, but leave the periodicals, ads and letters to the despised public service.
Hurrah for the public unions. Maybe if workers in private industry still had unions, their wages wouldn't have stagnated and made the public salaries and benefits looks extravagent. You have it exactly backward.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2011 at 1:43 pm
weneedpostalservice - you don't think a union that does not allow any layoffs had anything to do with the financial mess that the post office is in? As far as the periodicals, ads and letters - I bet UPS would contract to deliver periodical and I can do without the ads, I recycle them all anyway. And I can't remember the last time I got a letter - its been years. So that leaves bills and cards.
Posted by Get real, a resident of the Evergreen Park neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm
For those complaining about the USPS - and granted, it's not perfect - you have non idea what a powerful lobby there is from UPS, FedEx and other carriers to decimate the USPS. So, not too far down the road, when you're paying $2.00 to mail a letter, remember what the good old days were like with USPS. Another sacrificial lamb on the altar of so-called "economic efficiency", all while banks and insurance companies and a good number of private corporations gut yuor world, to make themselves more wealthy.
Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of the Duveneck/St. Francis neighborhood, on Sep 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm
Get Real - excluding Christmas and Birthday cards, I haven't mailed a letter or bill in years, so $2 a letter wouldn't bother me at all. I would probably pare down my Christmas card list though :) If the other result was less junk mail, that would be absolutely awesome!
Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto, on Sep 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm
I truly love getting cards & letters in the mail. I love sending them, too, as time allows. It's just so much nicer for the recipient to open than a bill or junk mail. We also sometimes mail cards to people whose yards we love. Yes, we're garden peepers, but we don't trespass. So if you receive one from us, it's a compliment!