Mail delivery spotty after route cuts

August 12, 2011
By

Parts of Jamaica Plain are experiencing irregular mail delivery as a result of a route reshuffling in the United States Postal Service (USPS).

Homes in central JP—on Rockview Street, Parley Avenue, Parley Vale, Burr Street, Grovenor Road and St. John Street—are receiving their mail as late as 7 p.m., due to a new mail sorting system.

A USPS representative said he expects service will improve after carriers get used to their new routes. But a representative from the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) said service would likely only improve after a decrease in carrier workload.

The new system, which started May 25, sorts larger volumes like magazines in order of delivery, supposedly leading to faster deliveries on each route. In the past, carriers would have to sort that mail manually, USPS spokesperson Dennis Tarmey told the Gazette.

Because of this new system and its expected faster delivery, JP had its 34 mail delivery routes re-evaluated, resulting in three fewer routes and the addition of one “auxiliary” route.

Auxiliary routes are secondary routes, done after a carrier has finished his or her primary route.

“There seems to be disagreement about the length of time a route should take according to [the USPS] central office and the opinions of those who actually walk these routes, the letter carrier themselves, who clearly are now on speed-up,” said Susan Eisenberg, a central JP resident who lives on the new auxiliary route.

“Mail [delivery] on Rockview Street has been erratic and [recently] didn’t arrive until 7 p.m.,” she added.

Lew Drass, director of city delivery for NALC, said that the USPS expects its carriers to do more than eight hours’ worth of work during a standard workday and that improvements will be unlikely until routes are scaled back.

“The company [the USPS] has an expectation that is not attainable,” Drass said. “But there’s nothing preventing the company going back after 60 days and fixing [its] mistakes.”

“What we have seen at other locations is that there is a learning curve with the adjusted routes and delivery times will become more consistent over time, once employees become more familiar with the new delivery sequence on the realigned routes,” Tarmey said. “Delivery of mail at 7 p.m.…will not be the norm.”

“We always seek to serve our customers better and management will continue to monitor the situation and they will respond accordingly. They will make adjustments where they are called for,” Tarmey said. “We ask our customers for their understanding during this period of transition as we seek to improve their mail service in Jamaica Plain.”

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