Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

July 27, 2013

What next?

Door-to-door delivery of mail may come to end

Forget the possibility of losing mail delivery on Saturdays. Never mind the closing of the post office in your small town. In less than 10 years, it might be that the U.S. Postal Service will no longer deliver mail to your front door.

It’s part of the latest proposal designed to cut costs at the postal service, which lost $16 billion last year. Legislation put forth recently by Rep. Dan Issa (R-Calif.) aims to save $4.5 billion a year, which still leaves a lot of red ink.

Instead of slipping your mail into boxes or slots at the front door, letter carriers would put it in mailboxes at the end of your driveway or in curbside cluster boxes that serve multiple residents.

The postal service has been moving to eliminate front-door delivery for some time, even establishing that cluster-box delivery will be provided for homes or groups of homes that haven’t even been built yet.

Only about one in three mail customers still has front-door delivery, and safe delivery areas would be established for cluster-box users.

The savings would be substantial. About 30 million mail customers receive delivery at the door or a mail slot, at an average cost of $350 per year. It costs $224 a year for curbside delivery and only $160 for cluster box delivery.

Also, the number of mail delivery addresses has risen by about a third in the last quarter century, but the amount of revenue-generating mail has remained constant.

Several remedies have been proposed to stop the postal service’s financial hemorrhaging, but one thing is sure: No single course of action is going to accomplish that.

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