Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mail to your door (2)

Shortly after my post about the proposal in Canada to deliver the mail to "community mail boxes" instead of to your door, a similar issue emerged here in Australia, namely, a proposal that mail (and also here) would be delivered on, say, 3 days a week with the option of paying extra for daily deliveries.  This seems to have been dropped, but instead it's intended to increase the base postage rate to 70 cents. 

Leaving aside some of the rather shrill comments on the various websites (do I detect a note of the "entitlement culture" amongst them?), I wonder if increasing the price of postage is a little counter-productive?

Don't get me wrong;   I don't suggest that the cost of posting letters should be cross-subsidised on an on-going basis, and in this digital age, conventional mail is going to come under pressure.   But I do think the proposal that Australia Post's service standards be reconsidered merits attention.   Assuming that a reduction of deliveries to 3 days a week is off the agenda (for the time being anyway), another possibility would be to look at the need for "next day" delivery in metro areas.  In most cases, would an additional day for a letter to arrive make much difference?   Or, possibly the "next day" requirement could be maintained, save that postbox clearances could be adjusted so that they occurred earlier in the day (instead of 6 pm as is usual at present in many areas).  Thus, if you wanted next day delivery, you would have to post by noon. This could reduce the amount of work required to be done overnight, presumably with a reduction in penalty rates payable.

I suppose another approach would be to charge extra for next day delivery, but to introduce this into the normal mail stream would obviously make the sorting process more complex and would seem to be counter-productive. In fact, the "Express Post" service already caters for this (even though its focus is interstate mail).

Another possibility is, do we need quite so many street postboxes?    Apparently there is a mandated minimum of 10,000;  perhaps this could be adjusted.

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