July 31, 2013
Earlier this year, many folks were up in arms over the U.S. Post Office’s announced plan to end Saturday mail delivery in an effort to cut costs. Though the move would have saved $3 billion for an agency that lost $16 billion last year, public outcry forced the post office to scrap the plan.
Now comes news this week that Congressional Republicans are proposing not only to end Saturday delivery, but also home delivery altogether.
By replacing home delivery with neighborhood “cluster boxes,” of the type often seen in apartment complexes, the postal service is expected to save an additional $4.5 billion. Rather than going door-to-door, postal workers would simply drop an entire neighborhood’s mail in one spot, saving time, money and labor.
While the plan sounds good on paper and, combined, would erase nearly half of the agency’s red ink, we have concerns.
In many rural areas, the geographic equivalent of a neighborhood in urban areas might consist of only a handful of homes. In order to accommodate enough addresses to make the plan cost-effective in rural areas, we can envision some residents having to drive for miles to get to their mailbox.
At a time when the postal service is closing many rural post offices, we fail to see the neighborhood dropboxes as a suitable alternative.
The plan to end both Saturday mail and home delivery seems like a very good idea … for highly populated, urban areas. For rural residents, however, especially those who are elderly, have low incomes or both, the plan would be yet another hardship.
Too many plans hatched inside the Beltway often ignore the needs of rural residents, and this is one that should never be allowed to see the light of day.
— The Floyd County Times