Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Fix the Post Office

Of the many lessons to be learned from the ongoing European unpleasantness, one is that you need to build a margin of error into your reforms.  If you don't, you'll be plunged back into chaos if you undershoot your target.  I think the current round of Post Office reforms is suffering from that same problem.  Cutting Saturday delivery--the current proposal--is much the same sort of piecemeal reform that will just kick the problem down the road and not provide sufficient time to rework a business model.  I've previously proposed that you could change where the post office delivers, or grant it a monopoly of local delivery, but if those are still too radical, the Post Office should be much bolder in its changes to the delivery schedule, and if it's going to cut service, it should also add some compensating service.

To this end, I propose that the Post Office provide seven-day-a-week, every-other-day delivery service.  At a stroke, this would vastly reduce the number of trucks and personnel needed to delivery the mail, even while providing Sunday service.  Not only would you have to visit each address nearly half as often, but each stop, by delivering nearly twice the mail, would be much more efficient.  It would also allow the vehicles to either carry more in a single load, or to allow larger vehicles to be used.


Blogger Noumenon said...

Maybe they could charge those who wanted to retain every-day service. Individuals could get mail once a week without caring, but businesses are not going to be happy waiting an extra business day for anything. (Or two if your target is on the opposite day from you.)

8:45 AM  
Blogger Yoel Natan said...

Every other day delivery is a great idea, but I have an improvement on that:

Mon Wed Fri for half the addresses, and Tue Thu and Sat for the other half. That way the post office can retain their 6-day week, and need half the carriers. Each year it would switch and the M-W-F route would become the Tue-Thur-Sat route, and vice versa. This 6-day work week would allow the post office to keep their 30 year full retirement package since working 6 days a week on average, with plenty of federal and personal vacation days, deserves a 30 year retirement even for menial jobs like being a post office deliverer.

6:39 PM  

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