Could door-to-door Postal Service delivery end soon?

xxx-end-of-mail116_001-4_3By Gary Strauss

First, it was doing away with Saturday delivery. Now, door-to-door service could be coming to an end.

In an effort designed to cut costs at the cash-strapped agency by up to $4.5 billion a year, congressman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is proposing that the U.S. Postal Service phase out door-to-door delivery and shift service curbside and to neighborhood cluster boxes.

The proposal — due for vote by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday — would affect about 37 million residences and businesses.

The Postal Service spends about $30 billion annually on mail delivery, losing $15.9 billion last year alone. It does not receive federal assistance, getting revenue from postage sales, delivery services and other products. But mail service has dropped nearly 25% from 215 billion pieces delivered in 2006 to a current volume of 160 billion, says Postal Service spokeswoman Sue Brennan.

The Postmaster General’s office estimates labor-intensive door-to-door delivery costs an average $353 a year. Curbside delivery averages $224; cluster boxes, just $160. The Postal Service, currently making 54 million curbside deliveries and 40 million to cluster boxes and central locations, has been moving toward collective deliveries at shopping malls, business parks and newer residential developments.

“A balanced approach to saving the Postal Service means allowing USPS to adapt to America’s changing use of mail,” Issa said in a statement. “Done right, these reforms can improve the customer experience through a more efficient Postal Service.”

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