It’s not easy to find something the entire postal community can agree on. But the U.S. Postal Service’s need to replace its delivery vehicles just might get all heads nodding.

Given package volume growth, the Postal Service needs vehicles with increased cargo-handling capacity to replace the existing fleet of left hand drive (LHD) vehicles, many of which have exceeded their end-of-life projections. They also have expensive ongoing operating costs that exceed the vehicles’ value.

The Postal Service has made investments to replace over 12,000 delivery vehicles. Its plan includes an investment review process, which in 2014 and 2015 included approval of two decision analysis reports (DARs). These DARs called for replacing 2006 model year vehicles with off-the-shelf, commercially available, extended capacity LHD delivery vehicles. The new vehicles have 400 cubic feet of cargo capacity, compared to the old vehicles’ 140 cubic feet.

USPS deployed the new LHD vehicles as planned but retained just over 7,600 vehicles originally slated for replacement. Why? To maintain delivery service because package volume and delivery points had grown beyond projections.

We reviewed the Postal Service’s LHD delivery acquisition to determine if it achieved performance metrics, costs, and savings. We found the Postal Service spent less than it expected because management obtained a lower price during contract negotiations and did not have to use contingency funding.

However, we found USPS did not fully achieve the expected net savings for the first DAR because the DAR program manager didn’t coordinate with Finance and Planning to reduce savings from annual field budgets. The Postal Service did realize full net savings for the second DAR.

Our recommendations centered on improving the process going forward so future DARs reflect field budget savings and so performance metrics are more adequately tracked and reported.

How do you find the new LHDs compared with the old ones? What improvements are most noticeable?

Comments (5)

  • anon

    I currently an owner Rual route carrier if you will in a small community I recently was talked into purchasing a van that was written into my contact for me . However I was in an accident off the route and am having a terrific couple run the route and they have there own vehicles. So I am stuck with a van pmt . Bottom line is vechile should be provided in my opinion and than no one person would have to eat it but live and learn I’m going to have to turn the van in an my credit will be bad but my people on my route are happy and so are FWW4Mthe people I got lucky enough to take care of them ... small price to pay I think .....

    Jul 07, 2018
  • anon

    Many rural carriers use off the shelf vans from Ford, Chrysler, etc. They hold up pretty well. Have large open spaces which allow for daily changes in mail volume and sizes of packages. Instead of reinventing the wheel, why doesn't usps get a couple of thousand right hand drive vans from one of these companies and try them out.. Bet you city carriers will love them. There is no one size fits all and your prototypes are trying to do this. Ain't going to happen. There are too may factors involved. Instead...try trusting your carriers to figure out the best way to load and deliver each day based on the day's work. If would appear to be a smart move to spend a bit to see if this idea would work and save millions... What's your opinion, and please pass this on to the people in charge of the program.

    Jun 25, 2018
  • anon

    These new truck are not carrier friendly and are a complete hazard. No one really cares that it as A.C in them and harder to work out of. U can’t even step out of it with out going side ways or holding on. How are you suppose to get out of the truck with mail, parcels and hold on at the same time.

    Jun 22, 2018
  • anon

    I used to be an RCA for 5 yrs. Then i relocated. This sounds interesting.

    Jun 21, 2018
  • anon

    I love the new look of our Mail Carrier van its very awesome looking,and very stylisly designed to I may say. Can't wait to see more of these in the Philadelphia area especially in Northeast Philadelphia!!!!!!!!!!! I love everything United States Postal service,and the great service it offers us custmers and residences. Thank You all working hard mail carriers for delivering our Mail,and those who work sorting our Mail in the post offices across the United States Of America and I mean that too!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jun 20, 2018