Monday, May 11, 2015

Rural senators voice complaints to postmaster general about delayed rural mail delivery

A group of bipartisan senators from rural states told Postmaster General Megan Brennan during a meeting last week that since the U.S. Postal Service in January eliminated overnight delivery for local first-class letters that used to arrive the next day, anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of mail takes an extra day to be delivered, Lisa Rein reports for The Washington Post. Senators from Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, Kansas, Vermont, Wisconsin and Maine told Brennan that because of the extra day mail is being delivered late.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told Rein, “You mail a letter in Helena, and it really has to go 90 miles out of the way to get to a destination a few blocks away. It gets to be a death spiral. One of the things the postmaster general needs to understand is that when we go home and people are complaining about the Postal Service, it indicates there is dysfunction there.”

USPS "has cut service to save money, reducing hours at local post offices and closing mail processing plants," Rein writes. "That’s where delivery times have suffered, lawmakers and postal unions agree, because the mail, especially in rural areas, has to travel extra miles to get to a plant as consolidations have moved forward."

Senators said closing of plants and elimination of overnight delivery has hurt rural residents who rely on mail service for check deposits, lease agreements, bills and prescription drugs, Rein writes. "The senators pressed Brennan to better document the money the agency says it is saving by closing processing plants, claiming that the savings have so far come in less than postal officials estimated. They also reiterated their request to Brennan to slow the closure of 82 plants scheduled to shut their doors this year." (Read more)

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