More packages and fewer letters is the new normal for the U.S. Postal Service. Now it needs to adapt its delivery operations to this mail mix to protect service. Unfortunately, some customers are already feeling negative effects of this changing mail mix.

In Atlanta, customers complained of mail delivery being inconsistent, sporadic, and extremely late. Our recent audit confirmed that mail was not always delivered in a timely manner in the selected delivery units we reviewed in the Atlanta District.

In the 16 delivery units we selected, package volume increased 32 percent on average over the past four years, a direct result of Sunday delivery and the growth in ecommerce. City carriers and noncareer city carrier assistants (CCA) are feeling the pinch of this added package volume. The district used more workhours than planned in fiscal year (FY) 2017 by over 38,000 hours.

We determined none of the 16 units achieved their goal of distributing mail to carrier routes by 8:30 a.m., often because the mail came late from the processing center. With a late Distribution-Up-Time, as this is called, carriers end up starting their routes later, which can affect delivery performance.

We also found that only 70 percent of letter carriers returned to these units by 7 p.m., with some returning as late as 10 p.m. in FY 2017. This was well off the Postal Service’s goal of 95 percent of city letter carriers returning from street operations before 5 p.m., and 100 percent by 6:00 p.m. The Postal Service strives to meet this carrier return goal to achieve its 24-hour operational requirement to collect, distribute, and deliver mail on time.

Carriers returning from their routes after 6:00 p.m. remains a nationwide problem for the Postal Service. We also recently released an audit report on carriers in the South Florida District, where only 58 percent of city carriers and CCAs returned by 6 p.m. in FY 2017. Our visits to 15 randomly selected delivery units found a slight improvement, with 61 percent returning by 6 p.m.

We found that some of the reasons for carriers returning after 6 p.m. was due to mail arriving late from the processing center and improper mail mix, as well as inaccurate operating plans. Vehicle breakdowns and availability were also factors.

We recommended the Postal Service improve mail flow within and between the processing centers, as well as improve recording of late mail arrivals and develop a plan to review package data and make route adjustments as needed.

Comments (61)

  • anon

    As flawed and unfair as the Rural Carrier system of paying by route evaluation is, where there is an adequate number of relief carriers in an office, returning so late is not an issue for the rural craft. When late return time is an issue on the rural side, it is most often due to inadequate availability of relief carriers. Either they are being required to carrier more than one route or they are not properly trained on and familiar with a route. One can assume there are similar problems on the city side when there is a shortage of CCAs. Either they are being required to cover more territory than they are able to complete by the target return times or they are not trained on routes they’re being required to carry. USPS needs to streamline the hiring process for relief carriers, both for rural routes and city routes. In addition, relief carriers need more incentive to accept positions and to stay with USPS. Thanks for the opportunity to provide input. Kirk Bogle Sr

    Jul 28, 2018
  • anon

    From what I've seen, its not the training...mail carriers whether cc rc or cca are expected to deliver more with little to no time. Some ppl don't realize the time frame given is unreal. No one is built the same, some ppl are tall skinny short fat and not everyone should be expected to move at a pace of what someone else can move but they are. Some ppl have an advantage over others One may be able to deliver all thats given in 3 hours while it may take the next person more time I dont feel the time expectations are fair. Bad enough they are in vehicles with no access to air in the summer nor heat in the winter, no restrooms in certain areas they can use a persons house etc. Us as customers have needs and them as carriers do as well.. How can we expect them to move like someone else. Ppl believe they get paid fairly for what they actually do... I truly dont belive so... They are not treated fairly Ask? I did.

    Aug 06, 2018
  • anon

    Apparently substitute carriers are not picking up packages when notes are attached to the flag they are at the front door. Pre paid packages need to go out that day so you have to take them to the post office if not picked up before 4:00 pm. I was told the McCalla post office doesn’t give the carrier name by the postmaster there. That is rediculous you should not know your carrier to straighten out the issues and build a repoir.

    Jul 27, 2018
  • anon

    I was wondering how USPS read a handwritten zip code. By machine or by human being? If the zip code was misread but the address was right, would the address be used as the standard one and staffs would make an effort to deliver? This was not what happened, and I did not understand an obvious mistakes that a human being could easily discover took nobody’s effort to do it.

    Jul 27, 2018
  • anon

    Mail is read by machine from the bottom up and will default to the zip code and plus four before reading the last numeral on the address. It will assume a misspelled street name and get as close to that plus four as it can. The carrier on the other end reads from the top down and if he recognizes the computer mistake will pull the piece and recycle it. Often to see it again the next day as the computer makes its same assumptions. If the carrier has no institutional knowledge of that route he working on that day he will probably go with the computer's assessment that a street name was misspelled. Where as the regular carrier might notice a new name for that address or streets that are commonly misspelled like inverting V's and B's to Hispanic households

    Apr 16, 2019
  • anon

    YES..."Late Mail"... But Why? Map"s, IOP's , load plans...All out of date, missing or just ignored... You have so many audit reports from all over the country which say this is occurring across the US.. But why? That's for you to find out..You might find that the reduction of plant capacity and the elimination of 3rd shifts are a big part of the problem. You also have audit reports which show that contracting officers do not do the due diligence on contract renewals..Here's an example... I know a post office where the contract has just bee rolled over for over 10 years...Same number of trucks and same size trucks... This is wrong and causes problems...Package volumes have soared over those 10 years... Packages take up more space than other product.. The total cubic square feet of product has increased, the volume of the trucks have not... You can see that this helps throw any good scheduling out the window.. So pick a number of districts and really review the total picture... Plants, contracts, and po's. Start by polling carriers and clerks at PO's. They know what really is going on... Get the lay of the land...Then do your audit digging.. And, please, don't hold back...The viability of usps needs you to do a great job... I'm so happy that you have seen the problem...Now help us get solutions..Good Luck

    Jul 25, 2018
  • anon

    I have many reasons to going to this post office. I sell online and so I mail out packages. I buy online and so I get packages. l have been having problems more and more. I had one lost or another delivered two blocks away. And in the post office they change weird price. It actually depends to which counter person you go to. there is a lot more but I would be here so very long.

    Jul 25, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Patricia. Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs.

    Jul 25, 2018
  • anon

    I received a notice 7/23/18 that mail will no longer be delivered to my address and all my neighbors in the area as of today 7/24/18. Is this legal?

    Jul 24, 2018
  • anon

    I see firsthand the results o the inadequacy to keep up with delivery standards. I have recently experienced carriers marking packages delivered which were not, not delivering small envelopes packages and marking them attempted at a home with a private mail box and somebody at home, and many many instances of delivering a pkg to the wrong address or apt mail box. There was NO ACCOUNTABILITY for this behavior. I have pkgs delivered to multiple addresses, and the mistake rate is so great that I have asked Amazon repeatedly to not use the usps services. I avoid them if at all possible. This fraud has been going on for more than two years. I have spoken with a postal inspector, I have complained to the local post office, and a manager got fired. Subsequent to the manager being replaced, another pkg got marked delivered and I picked it up at the post office 3 days later. This incompetence has got to stop.the mail carriers are sometimes saved by honest people. But not always. I have no recourse when the mailman has a GPS coordinate "proving" he was standing by my mailbox. He was standing next door - pretty close - and another time he was standing by my box and put it into the. Neighbor's box. "Proof" will cost me. I avoid usps.

    Jul 23, 2018
  • anon

    Had the USPS NOT CLOSED so many processing plants..........this would NOT be a problem!!!

    Jul 23, 2018

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