The PJ Tatler

U.S. Post Office Performance Continues to Decline

The Washington Post is reporting that the quality of service we’re seeing from the U.S. Postal Service is in decline. The number of letters arriving late “has jumped by almost 50 percent since the start of the year.”

And that’s “measured against the agency’s own newly relaxed standards.”

The Postal Service blames “down-sizing” for it’s crappy service.

Mail that’s supposed to take two days to arrive took longer — anywhere from 6 to 15 percent of the time during the first six months of 2015, investigators found, a decline in service of almost 7 percent from the same period last year. Letters that should take three to five days took longer anywhere from 18 to 44 percent of the time, a 38 percent decline in performance over the same time last year.

Of course, it’s the weather.

But postal officials have struggled this year to meet even these lower standards.  The delays have been compounded by two factors, the inspector general found: Severe storms last winter and changes to plant operations that started when the new standards took effect. Thousands of postal workers were reassigned and shifts were changed, resulting in a disorganized, inefficient workplace.

A government operation is “disorganized and inefficient”? Imagine that.  It seems like a good time to re-evaluate whether snail mail is a good taxpayer investment. But not everyone wants to have that discussion.

“Members of Congress are now hearing from angry constituents whose mail is taking longer to arrive. The House took a drastic step this spring, passing a measure that requires the Postal Service to return mail delivery standards to 2012 levels. It raised the possibility that some shuttered plants would have to reopen.”

But the Congressional Budget Office said the price to “turn back the clock” was “so high” that it would be unrealistic. Legislation to fix the service has been unsuccessful so far.

After foundering in three Congresses, legislation to stabilize postal finances is still a possibility, congressional aides say. One of the key issues a bill is likely to address is how to make sure that as the post office cuts costs, it doesn’t shortchange its customers, particularly those in rural areas.

Yes, cutting costs while continuing to provide quality customer service is  how the private sector works. If they can’t manage, then they close down.

Democrat Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) introduced a bill after her constituents complained about their late deliveries and problems with the Postal Service.  The senator is joined by three others, all of whom have rural constituencies, to deal with the problem.  It would require that mail reach it destination faster.