For new homes, no more mailman at the door under postal plan

Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:27am EDT
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By Elvina Nawaguna

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Under a cost-saving plan by the U.S. Postal Service, Americans moving into newly built homes will not have mail delivered to their doors and will instead have to trek to the curb or neighborhood cluster boxes.

The Postal Service began the change in April, and Congress is considering an even bolder shift that would also affect existing houses. It's unclear if delivery to the door will eventually be eliminated entirely.

"Converting delivery away from door delivery to either curb line or centralized delivery would enable the Postal Service to provide service to more customers in less time," Postal Service spokeswoman Sue Brennan said Tuesday.

More than 30 million American homes get door-to-door delivery and another 50 million get their mail dropped at their curbside mailboxes.

But the Postal Service, which is buckling under massive financial losses, sees savings in centralized mail delivery. Door-to-door delivery costs the Postal Service about $353 per address each year.

Curbside delivery costs $224, and cluster boxes cost $160 per address. With cluster boxes, mailboxes for individual addresses are grouped together at a central neighborhood location.

The move is one of many cost-cutting steps the Postal Service is trying as it continues to plead with Congress for permission to overhaul its business and avert a bailout.

The agency also proposed eliminating Saturday mail delivery but was forced to back off that plan earlier this year after lawmakers and some industries balked at the proposal.   Continued...

Mail carrier Mike Perkins delivers mail in the snow along Fletcher Avenue in Waterloo, Iowa, December 20, 2012. REUTERS/Matthew Putney/The Waterloo Courier/Handout