17 Years Experience
Long Island, NY
I am a City Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service in NY. I've been a city letter carrier for over 17 years and it is the best job I've ever had. I mostly work 5 days per week (sometimes includes a Saturday) and often have the opportunity for overtime, which is usually voluntary. The route I deliver has about 350 homes and I walk to each of their doors to deliver the mail. Please keep in mind that I don't have authority to speak for the USPS, so all opinions are solely mine, not my employer.
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I don't know the answer to that question. I agree with you that it's likely that mail volume is on the decline everywhere as technology spreads and instant electronic communications becomes the norm. I know some countries don't deliver mail 6 days a week and have privatized their postal system. Supposedly our current rate of .45 for a 1-oz. 1st-class piece of mail is one of the lower prices among modernized countries. We are by far the largest postal service in the world in terms of volume of mail delivered so our losses and gains are probably larger due to the scale of the operation.
Good question. I think that it would be too expensive upfront as you mentioned, and the USPS doesn't seem to be in that good of a financial position right now. It is true that the LLVs we use get very poor gas mileage as we are starting and stopping the engine many times per day and some of us drive very short distances. I get the impression that the USPS is currently in more of a survival mode than in being too innovative as of late. We probably could use some type of congressional relief of our current requirement to prefund future retiree health benefits This requirement is resulting in significant paper losses for the USPS which probably also hampers the drive to be more eco-friendly and economical.
We are always on a break! Just kidding. I can't say why you don't see mailmen take a break. We are allowed a 10-minute break plus a 30-minute lunch break while we are delivering the mail. I usually take my breaks sitting in the postal vehicle. Other carriers go to restaurants or take-out for lunch. I bring my lunch to save money. I hope this answers your question.
I don't know the regulations exactly when it comes to curbside delivery. I can assure you it is printed somewhere, possibly on the USPS website. I think that the carrier has to be able to approach your mailbox, deliver and then drive away without leaving the vehicle. That said, some carriers I know would rather deliver the mail and not have to bring it back to the PO and then attempt delivery the following day. I understand the frustration with the inconsistency, but If I had to pick one way or another, it is acceptable for a carrier to skip a delivery if he can't get to a mailbox for the reason of too much snow or a car blocking the mailbox. The school of thought might be that if we deliver when there is 4 ft. of snow on the ground, what incentive does the resident have to clear a path to so the carrier can drive his vehicle directly up to the curbside mailbox?
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No, that would be cost prohibitive for sure. I don't know what gets screened and what doesn't. If mail is going into sensitive places like the US Capitol or The White House, there is a strong likelihood that it is being screened.
I am not familiar with that story which you mention though it does sound disgusting. If we ever saw a package that was leaking fluids and/or had a noticeable strange smell, our procedure is to report it to a supervisor who could then decide whether to take any further action with re: to calling postal authorities or local police. I would hope if that same situation happened in the US that the package would be intercepted long before it reached its destination but you can never be sure as a lot of what happens depends on the personnel handling the package and how much they care or are paying attention.
It depends on what type of route a carrier has. If there are any businesses on the route, the carrier may use their restrooms. Where I deliver the mail, there is a gas station and library nearby. If there isn't a business nearby, maybe a male carrier could just go in the woods, but that would be quite embarrassing if he was ever caught. They could also ask a resident to use a bathroom, but I have never had to do that. Good question!
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