Background

Late trips occur when various conditions cause a delay in the arrival or departure of transportation beyond the scheduled times. In April 2019, Postal Service Headquarters management informed plant management to eliminate all late trips and specified that all trips should depart and arrive to their destinations on time. From July 1 to December 31, 2019, the Postal Service reported 591,140 late trips from Processing and Distribution Centers (P&DCs) to delivery units. When mail processing operations do not process mail timely or mail volume is above normal or expected levels, managers may have to call extra trips to transport this mail.

From July 1 to December 31, 2019, the Postal Service reported 176,940 extra trips from P&DCs to delivery units. Late and extra trips to delivery units can cause disruptions and increase the number of carriers returning after 6 p.m. When carriers return after 6:00 p.m., customer service can suffer, and mail collected by the carriers may be late to the P&DC. In addition, late returning carriers can result in increased overtime and penalty overtime costs.

The Philadelphia P&DC is in the Philadelphia District within the Eastern Area. The P&DC processes letters, flats, and parcels. From July 1 to December 31, 2019, it reported 13,206 late trips (third highest among P&DCs) and 1,297 extra trips (40th highest among P&DCs) from the plant to delivery units.

Our fieldwork was completed before the President of the United States issued the national emergency declaration concerning the novel coronavirus disease outbreak (COVID-19) on March 13, 2020. The results of this audit do not reflect operational changes and/or service impacts that may have occurred at this facility as a result of the pandemic.

Our objective was to assess the causes of late and extra trips at the Philadelphia P&DC.

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Comments (81)

  • anon

    I mailed my passport application and is said it was delivered at this distribution center MARCH 28th it’s now May. Anyone I speak to just says call back another day (also being a long wait of 2 or 3 hours) when will my application be shipped to a passport facility I have a trip in JUNE i need my passport

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    Mailed Passport and Card w/Renewal Application 3/18/21, still not showing delivered, only "Arrival at Unit" Philadelphia 19176 on USPS paperwork shown to me at my local post office. Seeing ALL THESE PASSPORT comments, as frustrating as the situation may be, is reassuring, as I know it's not just an unfortunate mishap happening to me alone. IT'S INFURIATING, yes, but it helps to see it's not just me. Sorry, everyone suffering the same. We'll get through it.

    Apr 26, 2021
  • anon

    ***Update.... my passport renewal application now says in process as of 4/21. 30 days after mailing it and the tracking still says “in transit arriving late” but it got there. So thankful. Good luck everyone!

    Apr 23, 2021
  • anon

    Good news! Our passport renewal applications are now in process as of 4/21. We mailed them on February 1st from SC. If your tracking number says in transit arriving late, be patient. When you see it is finally delivered to Philly, be patient. It is very stressful and frustrating when your original documents are in the envelope and you have plans. I have been telling everyone if they need a renewal or a new one do it now! Good luck all.

    Apr 22, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed two envelopes containing my and my husband's passport renewal applications on March 17, 2021. I mailed them from our local post office in Colorado, and sent them Priority Mail, at $9.00 each. It is now more than one month later, and no one can locate those envelopes or tell me what happened to them. Meanwhile, we now have no passports. I am extremely frustrated. No one returns my phone calls, and I feel like I'm whistling in the wind.

    Apr 20, 2021
  • anon

    does your passport status when checked says "no application found" or "is not available"?

    Apr 22, 2021
  • anon

    Similar to many other comments I mailed my passport renewal application 3/22 to PA Processing Center. It checked in at my local post office (OH) when I dropped it off and 5 minutes later tracking says it departed. No movement since 3/22. On 3/26 the status updated to in transit arriving late. Now silence for weeks. I’ve opened a case with USPS and called the Department of State and neither were any help. They tell me to wait and advise against starting a new application. This is so unfair. I have a trip the end of June and I need my passport. I even called before applying to make sure there wasn’t a huge backlog because my passport was still valid just in my maiden name. Now I have no passport at all.

    Apr 14, 2021
  • anon

    You will be ok. It takes them a month to actually get it and start the processing. Mine was in the mail for a month so I reapplied since I was told I can. Well, my first one finally arrived and not I have to figure out how to get those connected. Just wait another 2 weeks and if needed call once its received to pay for expedited sevice.

    Apr 18, 2021
  • anon

    I MAILED MY PASSORT ON 03/13/2021 IT HAS BEEN SITTING AT THE PA DISTRIBUTION CENTER SINCE 03/20/21. I HAVE CALLED 6 TIMES AND OPENED A CASE AND NO ONE HAS RETURNED MY CALL. EACH TIME I CALL THEY SAY THEY ARE LOOKING IN TO THIS ISSUE AND THEY WILL CALL ME. THEY NEVER CALL BACK. IT LIKE THEY ARE HOLDING MY PASSPORT HOSTAGE. THIS IS HORRIBLE AND THERE IS NO ONE THAT IS WILLING TO HELP. WHEN I CALL THEY SAY THEY ARE SORRY BUT NO ONE HELPS. I DONT KNOW IF IT SAFE TO PUT MY TRACKING INFO ON THIS WEBSITE. I WAS ALSO GIVEN NUMBERS TO CALL AND WHEN I CALL THE VOICE MAIL BOX IS FULL TERRIBLE SERVICE AND THE MEDIA NEEDS TO BE CONTACTED TO EXPOSE WHAT IS GOING ON. I NEED HELP AND DO NOT KNOW WHO CAN OR IS WILLING TO HELP ME.

    Apr 11, 2021
  • anon

    Hi Yolanda. I feel your pain. As you can see by the comments we are in passport hell. I sent mine Feb 1st. It was finally delivered but still not in process!! It’s very stressful. The comments we make here are totally ignored by the OIG. I’m just hoping one of these days it will get thru. I’m sure a ton of people are now applying because we all want to go somewhere. And Covid is an issue. Just hang in there is all I can say.

    Apr 12, 2021
  • anon

    Omg! I'm shocked to see all these comments and to learn the the delays are pretty much general in PA. What is going on? Tracking the passport application envelope states that it is transit and arriving late but this is ridiculous. We sent a passport renewal application form along with the old passport on March 15 from Kenner, LA to Philadelphia, PA. We were able to track the envelope till it made it to Philadelphia, PA Distribution Center on the 18 of March but after that and on the 22 of March it shows in transit and delayed. We are extremely concerned and the post office in Kenner hasn't been able to get any information regarding this envelope.

    Apr 10, 2021
  • anon

    Pls help! I send my passport envelope from CA. It should have been receive on March 27 but still stuck in PA. I’m worried because I have send my original marriage license and passport.

    Apr 08, 2021
  • anon

    UPDATE: After 2 months my application package FINALLY reached to its destination and is now "In Process". I cannot explain the joy of seeing that status lol. I paid for expedited service and they said it would take another 4-6 weeks from today. But I have also requested for congressional inquiry and I got a call from congressman's office and was told that they were working on it and I should be getting my passport soon. Hopefully I will be able travel at the end of April as planned. I thought my application package was lost in mail but it eventually made it to the passport agency. Hope this helps some of you worrying like me.

    Apr 02, 2021
  • anon

    Did you ever get your passport? How did you file the congressional inquiry?

    Apr 22, 2021
  • anon

    How did you go about filing a congressional inquiry? My passport was mailed 3/13 and arrived to the PA Distribution center 3/20 and it has not yet been delivered. I have travel plans at the end of May/early June and I paid for expedited services. I would like to submit the congressional inquiry to hopefully expedite the passport process further.

    Apr 22, 2021
  • anon

    From NJ to Philly, passport envelope with tracking, sent Feb 2, show in transit since Feb 10, delivered on March 26.

    Mar 26, 2021
  • anon

    Ok y’all!! I just got a message that our priority envelope made it to Philly!!! Yay. Feb 1 till March 25. So. It’s there and will keep all posted. Not sure at passport office yet. But. Damn. It. It made. It.

    Mar 25, 2021
  • anon

    What state was it sent from? Mine’s was sent on the same date as yours feb 1st from Texas. So I am curious.

    Mar 26, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed it from Little River SC. It made it to Columbia SC the same day. Then was in transit.

    Mar 26, 2021
  • anon

    The Philadelphia, PA post office has lost my passport application. It's been 10 days with no updates on a Priority Mail package! OIG you NEED to investigate the 19176 post office. This is borderline criminal incompetence.

    Mar 25, 2021
  • anon

    In response to "Anonymous", speaking from recent experience it is likely that your application is not lost but extremely delayed. My relative's renewal application was stuck at that 19176 zip code for almost 1 month and was just received by the passport agency this week! We were concerned as well but apparently it stays there until it is eventually retrieved for processing, give it a few more weeks.

    Mar 25, 2021
  • anon

    Update. My child’s passport arrived today March 23rd, exactly 10 days after I mailed out the second application and expedited everything, the mail there, the passport process and expedited the mail back to me. I have also contacted my congressman and they contacted me back and were working on my issue, I’m not sure if that helped but it’s worth a try. My first application also finally made it to the agency ( sent out early January) but I placed a stop payment on that check. Now I just have to write them a letter and they will ship my child’s old passport back to me. I ended up changing my vacation dates one month out because I was afraid that the passport wouldn’t make it here on time (I wish I would’ve waited but I was afraid the prices would be outrages if I’d be changing reservations last minute, plus we ended up paying about $500 extra anyways). I wish all of you guys good luck, I know how much this sucks and reach out to your congressman of your district it might help, definitely won’t hurt.

    Mar 23, 2021
  • anon

    Thank you Klaudia for the update. I also reached out to the congressman of my district via email and am waiting for his response. In the mean time nothing has been changed to my application status still shows "not found, and "in transit". I am loosing hope for my upcoming April end travel plan.

    Mar 25, 2021
  • anon

    Thank you Klaudia for your update! We appreciate it! Gives us hope. Maybe soon.. I would have done the exact same thing you did. It’s very stressful when you have plans. We just made plans for early 2022. Still waiting on info. February 1st we mailed out. Fingers crossed. Enjoy your trip!!

    Mar 24, 2021
  • anon

    Something is wrong with the Philly center with a zip code of 19116. It just literally has been sitting there. Other packages to my household moved right through but this one - sitting. They must have threw it in the corner or stole it. Customer service won't help me at all. USPS is the weakest link. Major overhauls needed years ago, starting with their employees.

    Mar 20, 2021
  • anon

    I have sent my child’s passport renewal and expedited it January 14th. Philadelphia scanned it January 21st and it’s been sitting “in transit” since January 24th. Checked and called passport agency and says “status not found” when I called they say they don’t have the application. One person told me to keep waiting, and if I still don’t receive it to make an appointment 72hr before our flight at the agency and “maybe “ they’ll be able to make the passport there. The problem is if you check there’s no appointment available in my state or the neighboring states. Another person at the passport agency told me to reapply again and to include the lost or stolen form with the new application. That’s what I did March 13th, I reapplied, expedited it, expedited the mail to the passport agency and expedited the mail back to me. My trip is coming up in less than 4 weeks and I’m not so confident that I will get my child’s passport.

    Mar 15, 2021
  • anon

    Hi Kaludia, When you reapplied, have you submitted any documents as a proof of lost or stolen passport? and also have you sent your new application to the same center (Philadelphia)?. The agent I talked to told me I needed something from USPS that says the package is lost . And to me that seems impossible as the USPS doesn't seem to respond other than it's in transit and wait ---for a package sent thru priority mail (2days) and its been almost two months. I would greatly appreciate your reply.

    Mar 15, 2021
  • anon

    Hi Ira, I just submitted the DS-64 form (lost or stolen passport) along with the DS-11 and my child’s original birth certificate and of course all the fees again for expediting and passport. On the DS64 form there’s a window where you write in what happened to your passport. I’ve spoken to about 6 people when I called the passport agency and everyone had different responses. They said if I send a new application and the old one shows up there will be an issue, so I tried to make the best decision in this crappy situation. Since my child’s passport and application haven’t moved from Philadelphia since January 24th I figured I’m out of options. As of today March 16th my expedited new application has been delivered and I sent it out March 13. I’ll give them a few days and call the passport agency to see if they received it. Also the lady at the post office said that if they haven’t cashed the check 10 days from delivery to call them. My last check never got cashed so when I reapplied i placed a stop payment on it. I hope this information helps you in some way.

    Mar 16, 2021
  • anon

    Thank you so much for sharing this information, Klaudia. It is very very helpful....getting my hope up. I have a travel plan coming soon that I cannot cancel. I spoke with 4 agents at the passport center and everyone had different answers. My check has not been cashed yet either. SO, our cases look similar. Would you please mind sharing what happens with you new application and how fast they process it. Appreciate your reply. Thanks again.

    Mar 16, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Ira and anyone else having the same issues as us. The passport agency finally updated their system and now both of my applications are “ in progress” so it took over 2 months for the first one to get there and into their system and it took the second one just a week. In the meantime I have also reached out (email) to my congressman of my district and his office contacted me back within 2-3 days. They are now helping me and are confidant I will receive my child’s passport before our trip which is now less than 3 weeks away. I will update with any changes because I know how lost and helpless I was and am.

    Mar 22, 2021
  • anon

    Oh that's great. Congratulations! Yes please update how do they work on both applications or cancel the second (lost/stolen) and work on the first one? I really wonder how that works. Thank you.

    Mar 22, 2021
  • anon

    Any update on your case?

    Mar 22, 2021
  • anon

    I sent my expedite passport renewal application on Feb 1, 2021. USPS tracking still shows “in transit” and passport agency status shows “not on file”. Called USPS multiple times, opened a case, escalated it nothing happened. Nobody gives a solid answer on where my package (with passport and a cheque) is or whether it is lost. I also called Philadelphia passport center, they are like it’s USPS! we can’t do anything, you just wait!!!! Wait for how long ? They don’t have an answer. Today I inquired about if I can reapply using a lost passport option and the agent told me that I couldn’t do that either unless I get a proof of lost package from USPS. This is like a maze. I have a travel plan coming soon and I am feeling helpless. Also, I see that there are some passport “expediting” service businesses that provide guaranteed expedited service. I wonder how ? Is the passport agency putting our application aside to get “theirs” done on time? So frustrating!

    Mar 13, 2021
  • anon

    our prority mail package containing our passport renewal paperwork, expiring passports, and checks have been sitting "in transit" in Philadelphia since their arrival on February 22.....What is the problem and is there anything we or you can do to get this expeditied?

    Mar 11, 2021
  • anon

    Mine was sent from Seattle on Feb 9 via regular 2-3 Day Priority USPS and arrived in Philadelphia on Feb 11. It then went IN TRANSIT on Feb 13 and stayed that way until March 9th when I got an e-mail from the Passport Agency in Philly that my passport renewal was received. Note that when I check tracking on USPS, it still reads as "IN TRANSIT". I almost reported my passport as lost, but glad I waited a bit. So, I would give it at least one month from the time you sent it in the mail.

    Mar 13, 2021
  • anon

    I'm in the very same situation. My 3 day priority mail (LOL) package for passport renewal arrived at the Philadelphia sorting facility on February 23rd after being mailed on February 17th. I've spoken to several people at the USPS and they have assigned an "escalated case" on it since march 6th. I was told they are required to respond within 3-5 days about status of claim once it has been escalated but no response as yet. It is maddening not to know where all of your most personal information is. I check every day with the State department web site to see if it has arrived but get the same response every day, "NOT FOUND". Two days ago I decided it was best to lock all 3 credit reporting agency reports so I could at least bar someone from opening credit accounts or buying cars in my name. But who knows what other nefarious things can be done once your identity is stolen. This is a disgrace to America that our once reliable USPS has been gutted as it has.

    Mar 12, 2021
  • anon

    I am in the exact same boat and am increasingly frustrated. USPS also "escalated my claim" with a guaranteed call back in 72hrs. I received nothing. I called back and they said I needed to contact a number specific to PA, which I did - but it requires you to leave a voicemail and I have yet to hear back from anyone. Of course I paid with a money order, so who knows if it will even make it there and I may be out the passport fees I paid upfront. SO incredibly frustrating, and like you mentioned there are sensitive documents!

    Apr 05, 2021
  • anon

    Just to follow up, I mailed my passport renewals on Feb 12th, 2021. Tracking showed it departed Philadelphia on Feb 18th, 2021. After that it disappeared into the ether. This morning, Mar 10th, 2021 I received an email from the passport processing center that my passport was "In Process". The USPS tracking still shows it hasn't been delivered. So, my package was indeed delivered to the PP agency, USPS just failed to scan it upon final arrival, giving my a nice big ole headache for a few weeks.

    Mar 10, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed out Christmas calenders on Nov 3, 202 to certain friends and family. All within the local area, miles apart from each other. All but 3 have yet to arrive. Even though I paid for 2 day shipping, the postal workers at the same post office seem to not care a d throw their arms up. They have been sitting in Philadelphia Dist. Center since Nov 4th. I don't understand how the USPS even operates. How can these calenders be shipped out the same day, 2 of the recipients live 2 streets apart. 1 gets there and the other is stuck in that sink hole Philadelphia. It went from Media, to Philly, to Sharon Hill, to Devon Pa., then back to Philly where it's been sitting this whole time. Seems like someone from the Inspector Generals Office needs to take a road trip to sort out the issues there. I don't want to hear it's because of the pandemic. I'm sick of companies as big as the USPS saying that. It's because the employees don't care and are taking advantage of this pandemic. Glad they can get new trucks but can't deliver the mail worth a dang.

    Mar 08, 2021
  • anon

    I feel the same way! The logistics are all over the place to an outsider, the tracking is not utilized at all or very vague, I pay a lot to ship yet customers are brushed aside and go unheard!!

    Mar 20, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Shannon. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    Mar 10, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed my passport renewal application from Ohio February 12th. It has been sitting in the Philadelphia PA distribution since February 17th. No update, no movement. You can't call and inquire because you are purposely put into a loop. Someone should be accountable for holding/losing such personal information.

    Mar 06, 2021
  • anon

    I’m in the same boat you are I mailed it out February 16 I can’t find my tracking paperwork I was on hold for an hour and a half today with the passport people they’re saying they still don’t show that they have it what a bunch of crap

    Mar 18, 2021
  • anon

    Has anyone on this site gotten any info? And at what point do we file a lost passport and start over? 2 months? 3 months? I was told by Passport office to be patient. Ok. But when do we have to start the lost passport docs and start over again?

    Mar 10, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed our passport renewals out on 2/1/21 from SC. They made it to the distribution center later that day. On 2/5/21 I checked the tracking and it was in transit. Arriving late. Same status a month later. I don’t know if it’s in Philadelphia or what. I went to the PO where I mailed it and they blame the delay on Philly and no one has a clue. We mailed it in early because we are not in a big rush but it has all our documents in it! What is going on? No one knows.

    Mar 04, 2021
  • anon

    I am in similar situation. Is there any change in your tracking status? Mine just says "your package will arrive late". This is unbelievable .No accountability at all

    Mar 21, 2021
  • anon

    Same thing here. Mailed on 2/6/2021. On 2/14/2021 It was labeled as "in transit" from Philadelphia Distribution Center. I've spent hours on the phone with the US. Department of State and the originating post office trying to track down a passport renewal. Our trip is scheduled for June 1 so I assumed 16 weeks was sufficient time. But my application hasn't even reached the Dept. of State after over a month!! I'm not sure if I should reapply or just keep waiting.

    Mar 08, 2021
  • anon

    Yes, sounds like we have a similar timeline. I sent mine 2/9/21 from Washington State and it arrived at the distribution center in Philadelphia via 2-3 USPS Priority Mail on 2/11/21. Then, on 2/13/21, it updated to "In Transit, Departed USPS Regional Destination Facility PHILADELPHIA PA DISTRIBUTION CENTER" and has not updated for 20 days! I will just have to keep the faith it eventually arrives. Not traveling for 6 months+ though, so timing is not an issue. Just don't want it lost as there is a money order in there and my original passport of course.

    Mar 05, 2021
  • anon

    I sent my passport renewal from Seattle to the Philadelphia Passport Center on February 9th, 2021 and tracking showed that it arrived at the Philadelphia Post Office on February 11th. Two days from Seattle to Philly...not bad. On February 13th, the tracking then updated to show "In Transit, Departed USPS Regional Destination Facility". However, 17 days later, it hasn't changed status and still shows "In Transit". What's going on over there? I know the post office is working fine because I ordered something on Ebay from New York this week and got it cross country in four days no problem. So, the problem is at that Philadelphia Distribution center it seems. I know they are understaffed and what not due to Covid, but to sit in transit for 17 days when it just has to go across town in Philadelphia seems very off. Luckily, I'm not due to travel for a while, but just don't want to have to deal with a lost passport renewal and losing the money order I put in there. Others have said that they received their passport within a month despite none of the tracking updating. Others say there is a backlog of passport applications waiting at the Philly distribution center waiting to be picked up (or delivered?) Anyway, the moral is that if you need to renew your passport, I would not renew if your trip is within the next 2 months or you won't get it in time. I would probably renew it a good 6 months prior to take into account inevitable delays, especially with the current Covid, understaffing situtation.

    Mar 02, 2021
  • anon

    Good news! After 24 days of "In Transit", my passport has finally delivered to the Philadelphia Passport Processing Center! My passport is now showing as "In Process" on the Passport Status page. Note that USPS tracking still shows it as "In Transit" though.

    Mar 09, 2021

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