By BROOKE STEVENSON
Sunday Times Newspapers
Some Riverview, Wyandotte and Southgate residents may have noticed changes in their postal times and carriers as of last week.
Routes and times were altered in all three cities Jan. 20 as part of nationwide adjustments by the U.S. Postal Service.
While routes frequently are altered all over the country, the most recent changes are the first to be made as part of a nationwide review.
“It happens all the time,” postal spokesman Ed Moore said, “This is nothing new for the Postal Service. The only difference is that we’re doing it across the board, nationwide.”
He added that the changes should increase efficiency.
“The Association of Letter Carriers union and officials have been working together to become more efficient,” Moore said. “This has been a great partnership, and both have signed off and agreed on this.”
Changes may include customers having a different mail carrier or a different delivery time.
“There could be a situation with time, if you got your mail at 11 a.m. before, you might get it at 2 p.m. now, and vice versa. Nothing drastic,” he said.
Some old routes also may be split between several different carriers.
“There may be a carrier that has had their route for 10 or 15 years,” Moore said. “Within that time, that area has certainly changed a lot.”
While carriers will have different routes, layoffs of permanent employees are not expected, he said.
“A temporary employee, not a career carrier, may have been on a route for some time, and that route may be covered by someone permanent now,” he said.
Decrease in mail volume through the post office in recent years is one of the main reasons for the changes.
Processed mail was down 9.5 percent in the postal service’s last fiscal year, with 202.7 billion pieces of mail from October 2007 to October 2008.
“With a 9.5 percent decrease in mail volume, we need to look at cost savings and becoming more efficient in delivering the mail,” Moore said.
Officials blame the decrease on a downward economy and changes in technology.
“Every time the economy slumps, the mail volume goes down,” Moore said.
“Plus, surely over the last 15 or 20 years technology has affected volume.
“People are instant messaging, e-mailing, texting and even sending e-cards instead of tangible cards in the mail.”
Officials believe the alterations will lead to capturing more savings and staying more consistent. “We’re trying to stay as efficient as possible and keeping rates low,” Moore said, “With doing it all at one time, we will probably get a bigger return and a better understanding from our customers.”
Officials hope, he said, that the nationwide change will cause more people will take notice of the effects the economy has had on the post office and limit further decreases in volume.