More packages and fewer letters is the new normal for the U.S. Postal Service. Now it needs to adapt its delivery operations to this mail mix to protect service. Unfortunately, some customers are already feeling negative effects of this changing mail mix.

In Atlanta, customers complained of mail delivery being inconsistent, sporadic, and extremely late. Our recent audit confirmed that mail was not always delivered in a timely manner in the selected delivery units we reviewed in the Atlanta District.

In the 16 delivery units we selected, package volume increased 32 percent on average over the past four years, a direct result of Sunday delivery and the growth in ecommerce. City carriers and noncareer city carrier assistants (CCA) are feeling the pinch of this added package volume. The district used more workhours than planned in fiscal year (FY) 2017 by over 38,000 hours.

We determined none of the 16 units achieved their goal of distributing mail to carrier routes by 8:30 a.m., often because the mail came late from the processing center. With a late Distribution-Up-Time, as this is called, carriers end up starting their routes later, which can affect delivery performance.

We also found that only 70 percent of letter carriers returned to these units by 7 p.m., with some returning as late as 10 p.m. in FY 2017. This was well off the Postal Service’s goal of 95 percent of city letter carriers returning from street operations before 5 p.m., and 100 percent by 6:00 p.m. The Postal Service strives to meet this carrier return goal to achieve its 24-hour operational requirement to collect, distribute, and deliver mail on time.

Carriers returning from their routes after 6:00 p.m. remains a nationwide problem for the Postal Service. We also recently released an audit report on carriers in the South Florida District, where only 58 percent of city carriers and CCAs returned by 6 p.m. in FY 2017. Our visits to 15 randomly selected delivery units found a slight improvement, with 61 percent returning by 6 p.m.

We found that some of the reasons for carriers returning after 6 p.m. was due to mail arriving late from the processing center and improper mail mix, as well as inaccurate operating plans. Vehicle breakdowns and availability were also factors.

We recommended the Postal Service improve mail flow within and between the processing centers, as well as improve recording of late mail arrivals and develop a plan to review package data and make route adjustments as needed.

Comments (39)

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  • anon

    I deliver mail in Oregon and our start time changed to 8 am from 7:15 am. Safety is an issue and we do have most of our mail when arriving. Days are getting shorter and delivering mail in the dark is not smart or safe.

    Oct 16, 2018
  • anon

    For years and before Amazon deliveries were so prevalent, I have had issue after issue with my mail being delivered to my neighbors to include our Hurricane Irma insurance check and my husbands retirement check. I receive an email each day showing what should be delivered. Just yesterday I received my Amazon package in my mailbox but not my other seven pieces of mail which included my bank statement and a check from my financial investments. The post office needs to be run like a private business and those that won’t do their job need to be fired. I worked in the private sector for almost 50 years and this type of service was not tolerated for months not the years it has gone on in my neighborhood.

    Oct 13, 2018
  • anon

    Missorted / Missent mail slows us down when ordered to take DPS to the street

    Oct 11, 2018
  • anon

    Does your mail carrier have the right to choose whether he or she wants to deliver your mail from one day to the next. We live at the end of a long road, last house, and had count out on the road clipping trees. Our mail carrier told them to tell us we probably won’t be getting our mail this week while they are working, even though the maximum wait is 10 minutes, if that. Or the mail carrier also told us, if it snows we probably won’t get our mail... even though county plows and sands the toad and we get in and out just fine. It doesn’t seem right that they can just chose not to deliver. Can anyone tell me the protocol? ☺️

    Oct 02, 2018
  • anon

    For the past several years my local post office in Miami (33125) has only been delivering 4-5 days a week to my street and doing fake scans on packages which show they are delivered when they were not. We only get delivery on maybe 50% of Mondays (not including holidays) and not on some Tuesdays. Without exaggeration this has been going on for years. As the normal carrier seems to work very quickly it has to be the local postmaster who is incapable of properly staffing routes. As most deliveries are around 7pm I end up spending my entire off day on Monday waiting for mail which never arrives, then I have to spend my 2nd off day (Tuesday) waiting too. I have had many packages stolen because of this incompetent postmaster....they just produce to fake scan as proof of delivery. This affects hundreds of postal customers, not just me.

    Oct 01, 2018
  • anon

    Why does it take 2-3 days for priority mail to leave the Detroit Distribution center?

    Oct 01, 2018
  • anon

    I need to understand why our new mail carrier will not or can not bring our packages to our house. We upgraded our mailbox to be larger for her, but a few of the packages don't fit in the bigger box. So, instead of coming to my house like the previous drivers did, I get a notice to drive down the post office which is a 15 minute drive away. Is there a new regulation about carriers delivering to homes within a certain range? Thank you in advance for your answer.

    Sep 29, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Judy. Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately can't help with package delivery. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs. Just choose the tab marked "Where is My Mail."

    Oct 01, 2018
  • anon

    Information on Collection and Delivery is non-existent in the USPS system. Tracking either gives you erroneous information or no information at all concerning package delivery and notification. Reading your recommendations bring to mind that, "A Plan is Only a Plan Until Enacted". It certainly has had no effect within the USPS

    Sep 13, 2018
  • anon

    In Sept 4, 2018, I paid $29.15 for my package arrive in 3 days from 188th Post Office Station, Bronx, NY (close to Fordham Road) to my daughter's house in Dunkirk NY. The recipt said that the package will arrive Friday Sept 7, 2018 (in the same week, because there IS NOT any holy day or weekend during those days. But today is Sunday Sept 9 and the package did not arrived in Friday and it has not arrived yet. Then I check in online under USPS tracking and the information said that the package was late from the post office in Bronx, in Sept 4 at night it travelled to NJ (I DON'T KNOW WHY!!! if the package would go to the same NY), later go to Rochester NY, that is more far from Dunkirk than Bufalo, in Sept 6; later in Sept 8, 2018 arrived to Bufalo. And now Sept 9 is waiting to go to the next station. Why all those unnecessary travels, specially to NJ, out of NY, and comeback to NY in Rochester, that unnecessary travels delayed that daughter could receive her package on time and we are ruch for she receive it. And I paid for that. Why it did not travelled directly to Dunkirk NY from Bronx, NY. They stole my money because my package is travelling worse than a standard or regular service. I have sent letter and package to PR without extra fee in regular service and arrive in 3 days. I want my money back or a credit.

    Sep 09, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Maria. Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately can't help with lost mail. You can file a claim with the Postal Service at usps.com/help/welcome.htm

    Sep 10, 2018
  • anon

    well maybe its because postal management seems to believe that delivering 50 packages a day and delivering 200 a day along with your normal mail is going to take the same amount of time? rural carriers are hit the hardest by this as we get no overtime pay ,so we are doing routes based on maybe a yearly mail count maybe every two or three year count ,when suddenly we get no packages from ups,fed-ex,or the post office also flat mail drops off to next to nothing ,all this until a few days after mail count when we are hit with hundred,s of parcels ,flats that are obvious to everyone have been held back for a month .yet we are expected to do this day after day aslot of carriers getting no days pff but sunday,s for sometimes months at a time 7 for me ,this is back breaking work getting in and out of your vehicle 80 times a day everyday,many many more large and heavier parcels all the time. sub,s quit all the time now its just not worth it to them anymore.. I would love to see every manager from the top down have to work a route city or rural for at least two weeks a year one of those weeks during the holiday period from mid-october thru december and see how many quit.. then alot of small offices you see rural,s helping sort mail box mail all the time ,you see one carrier helping others none of these hours are getting reflected correctly.. volumes depend on who,s working that day and if they remember to measure or just winged it .. the whole place is a mess a big mess and people are being injured much more often now and half of them still working to afraid to even report that sprained ankle ,numb hands,bad back,s ans just so much more no one even knows about .

    Aug 31, 2018
  • anon

    I agree with you 100% (I'm a rural carrier-11 yrs)

    Oct 11, 2018
  • anon

    On-line shopping services such as Amazon, BodyBuilder.com, Walmart.com, etc., have become a really important part of our economy; but that kind of economy cannot function if the product isn't delivered to the customer. It used to be that the delivery services (like UPS) delivered to your door, but now they all seem to have contracted "last mile" delivery to the USPS. That's unfortunate because USPS delivery is slow, inconsistent, incorrect, and in my case non-existent. This is a very unfortunate trend for the state of our economy!

    Aug 29, 2018
  • anon

    The best way to solve the mail issue is SUPERVISION. Who is checking the checker? Some people become complacent in their positions, duties and responsibilities fall short. Maybe it's time to change out the guards

    Aug 27, 2018
  • anon

    Dear Postmaster General, I witnessed the late delivery while in Atlanta over the past year, usually our mail arrived after 6pm, so obviously carriers could not possibly get back to their appointed work site by 5pm. Now I live outside Raleigh NC in Garner, NC and the nearest post offices are about 8 miles away and the post offices are the only places that have a mailbox anymore. I read your audit regarding "low Volume" mail boxes, but having zero mailboxes, not even in the major shopping complexes is really bad. The closest place to drop off mail between 9am and 6pm is a private shipping shop that handles US mail, Fed ex etc. Mailboxes were a convenient and safe place to leave mail, now there are none within 8 miles of my home (but there are at least 4 major shopping complexes within 4 miles of my home). I can try to "put that red marker up on my mailbox", but occasionally the mail person still does not take the letter, and only delivers letters, and if I get no delivery that day, there is no pick-up either. Meanwhile the red marker tells fraudsters to check my mailbox for outgoing personal and possibly banking information. Thus using the home mailbox as a way to replace the hard steel fixed mailbox is not a great alternative, too risky. I had to mail my mortgage payment without the bill yet arriving, I contacted the bank and the statement was sent by them August 16th, (From Connecticut to North Carolina) today is August 24th. I mailed the bill this morning, the statement was in my mail box this afternoon. UPS and others can get regular shipping packages across the entire country in that time and USPS cannot mail a letter south in the same time zone in a timely manner? My point is that I know the USPS in under threat by Republican politicians trying to "privatize" the US Postal Service, but having lousy service, or in some instances, no service available only endangers the USPS existence even more. Cutting back on Customer Service only sends customers elsewhere and makes the USPS less viable. Please re-consider your policies. Sincerely, James Gannon MD

    Aug 24, 2018
  • anon

    I know that this info is mainly about the city carriers, but I want to remind you all that on the rural side we are suffering from this overburdening of Amazon parcels, too. In our office most of us make our daily eval time, but that just means that we have to work faster and drive faster each day to squeeze in the heavier daily work load. Which as you very well already know is not always the best and safest way to do our jobs. Furthermore, we spend an awful lot of time just trying to load some of these huge, heavy boxes of (presumably) dog food and other items into our personal vehicles. (not to mention everything else that we have to do) It's been like the Christmas season since about October 2017 till the present. I am currently just exhausted.

    Aug 21, 2018
  • anon

    We have not received our mail in the past two weeks due to our carrier reporting to my wife that "if mail is not removed from the mailbox within a day (or two) it is removed from the mailbox, and returned to sender". Is this true? How can he just take mail from our mailbox and arbitrarily decide to return our mail? PLEASE HELP!! I am growing very frustrated and angry. We went from receiving neighborhoods mail, our mail and misdevliverd mail to NO MAIL AT ALL. j6c92

    Aug 17, 2018
  • anon

    Hi Jamar, thanks for your message. We recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline, you can access the online complaint form on our website.

    Aug 20, 2018
  • anon

    My post office is routinely late and inconsistent. The current set up is the local post office delivers letters and envelopes while all packages are handled by a warehouse annex. This means that I have no access point to inquire about late/missing packages as the warehouse doesn't receive the public and the local office never has an idea whats going on with the warehouse. It's kind of a running joke with the staff. Additionally, as I live in an apartment, I never actually receive my package, only delivery slips. Question, is it typical for USPS not to leave packages at an apartment complex leasing office if the package it too large for the cluster boxes? UPS, FedEx, LaserShip and Amazon all deliver packages to the apartment leasing office when the package is too large. The USPS has done this on a few rare occasions, but its go too is to only deliver slips which makes using the USPS pointless as they are not actually delivering the package.

    Aug 14, 2018
  • anon

    My sister works for paparazzi jeweleries, and when she went to the post office to collect her package, they informed her that she needed to pay taxes to release her package. Is that new? I have never heard of that before.

    Aug 13, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, If the package is coming from overseas and is subject to duties, the addressee must pay them as well as processing and handling fees. Hopefully, this helps answer your question, have a great day.

    Aug 13, 2018
  • anon

    While I understand this dilemma, mail delivered late gives no opportunity to contact anyone when your mail and packages are scanned as delivered to your address but are actually in someone else's box. Your anger and disappointment grow overnight. I have already filed a couple of complaints and absolutely nothing is resolved. 3 packages, along with regular mail, have been scanned as delivered to us in the past 6 days that actually went elsewhere. On "hold" this morning trying to resolve an issue a solid hour and 22 minutes. No one ever came back to the phone.

    Aug 09, 2018
  • anon

    Since I’ve been using the postal system for almost all shopping I once would have done in person, a medical matter now keeping me home, I have noticed the change in package delivery just from the few years of my use of ordering through catalogues. Delivery now, in our area, includes more weekend deliveries on Sundays at high use times of the year (Christmas, most notably). And at the same time longer delivery hours. I’ve had packages delivered as late as 8 p.m. I think that the service is excellent.

    Aug 08, 2018
  • anon

    I paid for a certified delivery (requiring a signature) of a letter on 7/31/18 at my local post office (1333 Park Ave.) in Alameda, CA. As of 8/7/18 it has not been delivered and the USPS cannot tell me where it is. Seems a tracking number is worthless is they can't find the mail you sent. Unbelievable!!! I spent over an hour on the phone waiting to speak with someone. The lady was sympathetic and helpful, but still couldn't tell me where the letter is. 8/7/18 (5 pm) on hold to speak with someone (estimated 30 min. wait). I will never again use the USPS to send anything of value. Totally incompetent!!

    Aug 07, 2018
  • anon

    Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately can't help with delayed mail or packages. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs. Just choose the tab marked "Where is My Package" or "Where is My Mail."

    Aug 08, 2018
  • anon

    Seems every week I mail payroll and Bill's at least 2 to 4 pieces dont get to the destinations. There is nothing more frustrating than dropping mail at the Post Office and hoping that my employees will get paid and bills or get paid. I only use the mail from a few post offices in my general area so it may be some inefficiency at the local post offices. As of now this week I mailed out letters last Tuesday and today these people still have not received their paychecks. Somebody is stealing

    Aug 06, 2018
  • anon

    I had a package delivered on 07/31/2018. My regular carrier was on vacation and we had another carrier that day. Instead of bringing the package to my front door as he/she should have they left it sitting on top of my mailbox. This is totally unprofessional and should not be tolerated. This individual should be severely reprimanded and forced to give a face to face apology.

    Aug 02, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Donald. Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately can't help with customer service issues. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs. Just choose the tab marked "Personnel."

    Aug 03, 2018
  • anon

    As flawed and unfair as the Rural Carrier system of paying by route evaluation is, where there is an adequate number of relief carriers in an office, returning so late is not an issue for the rural craft. When late return time is an issue on the rural side, it is most often due to inadequate availability of relief carriers. Either they are being required to carrier more than one route or they are not properly trained on and familiar with a route. One can assume there are similar problems on the city side when there is a shortage of CCAs. Either they are being required to cover more territory than they are able to complete by the target return times or they are not trained on routes they’re being required to carry. USPS needs to streamline the hiring process for relief carriers, both for rural routes and city routes. In addition, relief carriers need more incentive to accept positions and to stay with USPS. Thanks for the opportunity to provide input. Kirk Bogle Sr

    Jul 28, 2018
  • anon

    From what I've seen, its not the training...mail carriers whether cc rc or cca are expected to deliver more with little to no time. Some ppl don't realize the time frame given is unreal. No one is built the same, some ppl are tall skinny short fat and not everyone should be expected to move at a pace of what someone else can move but they are. Some ppl have an advantage over others One may be able to deliver all thats given in 3 hours while it may take the next person more time I dont feel the time expectations are fair. Bad enough they are in vehicles with no access to air in the summer nor heat in the winter, no restrooms in certain areas they can use a persons house etc. Us as customers have needs and them as carriers do as well.. How can we expect them to move like someone else. Ppl believe they get paid fairly for what they actually do... I truly dont belive so... They are not treated fairly Ask? I did.

    Aug 06, 2018
  • anon

    Apparently substitute carriers are not picking up packages when notes are attached to the flag they are at the front door. Pre paid packages need to go out that day so you have to take them to the post office if not picked up before 4:00 pm. I was told the McCalla post office doesn’t give the carrier name by the postmaster there. That is rediculous you should not know your carrier to straighten out the issues and build a repoir.

    Jul 27, 2018
  • anon

    I was wondering how USPS read a handwritten zip code. By machine or by human being? If the zip code was misread but the address was right, would the address be used as the standard one and staffs would make an effort to deliver? This was not what happened, and I did not understand an obvious mistakes that a human being could easily discover took nobody’s effort to do it.

    Jul 27, 2018
  • anon

    YES..."Late Mail"... But Why? Map"s, IOP's , load plans...All out of date, missing or just ignored... You have so many audit reports from all over the country which say this is occurring across the US.. But why? That's for you to find out..You might find that the reduction of plant capacity and the elimination of 3rd shifts are a big part of the problem. You also have audit reports which show that contracting officers do not do the due diligence on contract renewals..Here's an example... I know a post office where the contract has just bee rolled over for over 10 years...Same number of trucks and same size trucks... This is wrong and causes problems...Package volumes have soared over those 10 years... Packages take up more space than other product.. The total cubic square feet of product has increased, the volume of the trucks have not... You can see that this helps throw any good scheduling out the window.. So pick a number of districts and really review the total picture... Plants, contracts, and po's. Start by polling carriers and clerks at PO's. They know what really is going on... Get the lay of the land...Then do your audit digging.. And, please, don't hold back...The viability of usps needs you to do a great job... I'm so happy that you have seen the problem...Now help us get solutions..Good Luck

    Jul 25, 2018
  • anon

    I have many reasons to going to this post office. I sell online and so I mail out packages. I buy online and so I get packages. l have been having problems more and more. I had one lost or another delivered two blocks away. And in the post office they change weird price. It actually depends to which counter person you go to. there is a lot more but I would be here so very long.

    Jul 25, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Patricia. Thanks for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service. Please file a complaint directly with the Postal Service at emailus.usps.com/emailUs/iq/usps/request.do?forward=emailUs.

    Jul 25, 2018
  • anon

    I received a notice 7/23/18 that mail will no longer be delivered to my address and all my neighbors in the area as of today 7/24/18. Is this legal?

    Jul 24, 2018
  • anon

    I see firsthand the results o the inadequacy to keep up with delivery standards. I have recently experienced carriers marking packages delivered which were not, not delivering small envelopes packages and marking them attempted at a home with a private mail box and somebody at home, and many many instances of delivering a pkg to the wrong address or apt mail box. There was NO ACCOUNTABILITY for this behavior. I have pkgs delivered to multiple addresses, and the mistake rate is so great that I have asked Amazon repeatedly to not use the usps services. I avoid them if at all possible. This fraud has been going on for more than two years. I have spoken with a postal inspector, I have complained to the local post office, and a manager got fired. Subsequent to the manager being replaced, another pkg got marked delivered and I picked it up at the post office 3 days later. This incompetence has got to stop.the mail carriers are sometimes saved by honest people. But not always. I have no recourse when the mailman has a GPS coordinate "proving" he was standing by my mailbox. He was standing next door - pretty close - and another time he was standing by my box and put it into the. Neighbor's box. "Proof" will cost me. I avoid usps.

    Jul 23, 2018
  • anon

    Had the USPS NOT CLOSED so many processing plants..........this would NOT be a problem!!!

    Jul 23, 2018

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