Mail collection boxes are practically as American as apple pie. They also seem to be disappearing as quickly as mom’s homemade apple pie. 

Nationally, the number of collection boxes declined by more than 12,000 in the past 5 years. Some customers have complained the U.S. Postal Service has gone too far and removed too many collection boxes in neighborhoods. They’ve also questioned whether this effort is saving USPS money in the long run.

It’s a tough balancing act for the Postal Service. Some collection boxes are barely used and are expensive to maintain. On the other hand, mail collection boxes are a visible representation of the Postal Service to the American public, and their disappearance has been noted. They also are reliable, secure, and convenient receptacles for mail.

As part of its efforts to keep its collection infrastructure proportionate to customers’ needs at a reasonable cost, the Postal Service has eliminated underused collection boxes that on average receive fewer than 25 pieces a day; it has also added collection boxes where they are convenient for customers.

Our recent audit report looked at the Postal Service’s collection box removal process in the Eastern Area and found that it was not effective. While the area and its 10 districts have procedures for removing and relocating collection boxes, they were not consistently followed.

We recommended management require each district to periodically evaluate whether to relocate or remove underused collection boxes included in the annual density test that determines the average volume of mail collected. We also recommended the Postal Service maintain supporting documentation on its removal and relocation decisions, and establish a process to monitor out-of-service collection boxes.

How close is your nearest collection box? Do you have a collection box in your neighborhood? Do you use it regularly? 

Comments (58)

  • anon

    Hello Usps. Now I go to Chicago Chinatown Usps to mail a letter.Now the building temporary closed.Now that gone and most of Usps collection box.How people living here going mail or sent any package?I saw one by corner of cermack and Wentworth,but it looks like it's spray with black paint.I did'not think I want to drop mail in there.This very sad that mail box collection is gone or going be no more mail box.No letters of any kind,telling people that going on.It like closed a business down with any notice.Bad Usps Bussiness. Thank Sheldon

    Dec 27, 2016
  • anon

    Today i went to drop some mail on the last remaining collection box was left in my neighborhood, Joppa Md. It was gone! While i was wrapping my head around the disappearance, other two cars made the same discovery. Well the above mentioned drive by box is right in front of the post office, 20 feet at most, all it takes to collect the mail is for one employee to go out with a bag. Total employee time for the duty 5 min ( considering a very slow walking pace). The excuse that they are removing only those with little mail is quite pathetic. The above mentioned box is heavily used because is near by the only grocery store in the area, and the week end flea market. Non everybody can take time off from work because they have to go at the post office to drop some mail during the time they are open, and saturdays are a nightmare of waiting in line. Removing the collection boxes is the ultimate idiotic idea that will push away the few remaining costumers USPS had. Right before writing this comment i enrolled for online payment for all my bills. Because i do have 2 books of stamps and do not wish to reward USPS for their atrocious costumer service by tossing them i kept only one company on paper....as soon as the stamps are gone so will be my further use of USPS to send mail. au revoir.

    Dec 18, 2016
  • anon

    Until recently, there was a big drive up mailbox outside the post office at 808 Gleneagles Ct #1, Towson, MD 21286 that I once used for office mail daily when I worked down the road, and almost as frequently for personal mail because I live nearby. Now it's gone. The parking lot is small and awkward when the post office is busy. And now, rather than driving through in a matter of minutes and getting out of the way of people who need to park to buy stamps or mail packages, I have to park, too, just to walk inside the building to drop mail in a slot. For this particular post office location, getting rid of the convenient outside drive up mailbox makes for a lot more confusion in a small parking lot. What could possibly have been a burden to the USPS about that outside mailbox? This makes no sense at all.

    Dec 15, 2016
  • anon

    reduction or elimination of collection boxes is one more symptom of a failed business model for USPS and offers further insight into why USPS will be defunct before 2025.

    Nov 26, 2016
  • anon

    I agree. USPS is cutting off its nose to spite its face. Saving money by cutting services means losing customers. Losing customers means less revenue and further budgetary cuts. They should be moving in the opposite direction if they want to remain viable. That's why so many people use premium delivery services now. Ease of use is much more valuable than lower prices, when you're talking a few dollars difference. I used to have 2 mailboxes within walking distance of my home. Now there are none. It's like USPS doesn't want America's business anymore.

    Jun 28, 2017
  • anon

    Went to my local substation in Towson, Maryland to use the drive through mailbox. (The one located on my neighborhood corner for over 50 years was never replaced after damaged by an automobile striking it). I was very upset to find that ALL FOUR exterior mailboxes at the substation had been removed. This is a burden and inconvenience for a disabled individual such as myself to have to go into the lobby to mail a letter. THE PUBLIC IS NOT BEING PROPERLY SERVED BY REMOVING THESE HIGH VOLUME BOXES.

    Nov 25, 2016
  • anon

    The nearest box is 3 blocks away. I've started using it more now that I'm selling off some old stuff via eBay. Padded envelopes and small flat rate boxes fit in there just fine, which made it extremely convenient and a no brainer for shipping. Until today, that is. Went to the box and found that the familiar door was replaced with a very narrow slot! Way too small for the roughly 1" thick padded envelope I'd planned to just drop off. It meant an unplanned walk to the nearest P.O. (around a half mile away) then a wait on line because the P.O. has no drop box inside: just an even narrower mail slot for letters. All to drop off a simple $3 First Class mail package. This makes no sense and is making it much harder to use USPS for things that they're really competitive for. I'm going to start sending larger things by UPS since there's a drop off location only 2 blocks away from home and the hours are better than the post office anyway even though the shipping tends to cost more. I really hope someone rethinks this policy of changing the mailbox drop slot size. USPS generally wins on convenience and price, especially with flat rate Priority Mail which makes shipping drop dead simple. It seems reasonable that at least a small flat rate box should fit. Yes, I know you can request a free USPS pickup when a carrier's in the area, but that requires waiting around all day instead of dropping something in the box on the way to work.

    Oct 01, 2016
  • anon

    Removal of collection boxes that nobody uses is not the issue. Over the past 25 years, ever since EXFC started, the Postal Service has been shifting collection times to earlier hours to try to improve delivery performance scores. Many of these earlier collection times violated the national service standards for collections in Chapter 3 of the POM. Changes to the POM that were published in 2015 eliminated the mandate for a weekday collection at 5 PM or later for boxes that receive a weekday average of 100 pieces of mail or more, but current collection times still may not meet the needs of customers. The correct question to explore is the adequacy of collection times at collection boxes that do receive large quantities of mail.

    Sep 21, 2016

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