USPS OIG: What can be done to get carriers off the street by 5/6 pm?

September 18, 2017

Who doesn’t like finding a package they ordered online on their doorstep at an unexpected time, like, say, late in the evening just before you turn out the porch light for the night?

Consumers have come to expect quick delivery of parcels, often at odd hours of the day. This new paradigm comes at a cost, however. For the U.S. Postal Service, it means their city carriers and non-career city carrier assistants (CCAs) are delivering packages after the targeted return time of 6:00 p.m. Returning late from their routes raises safety concerns — especially when it gets dark earlier —  and overtime costs.

Few are complaining about the ecommerce explosion, mind you. It’s driving a growth in parcels — even as lettermail volumes decline. This package boom, along with a downsizing of the Postal Service workforce and evolving customer needs, have led to changes in the network and delivery. Furthermore, a wide range of variables, such as weather, employee absences, or new carriers to a route, can affect delivery on a daily basis.

All of this poses challenges for the Postal Service in meeting its goal of 95 percent of letter carriers being off the street by 5 p.m. and 100 percent by 6 p.m. Our recent audit of the Bay Valley (CA) District — in the heart of the nation’s ecommerce hub — found that carriers and CCAs fell short of the 100 percent goal by 6 p.m. In calendar year 2016, only 75 percent of carriers returned to the office by 6 p.m., our report said.

Bay Valley certainly is seeing the effects of ecommerce activity, as well as Sunday package delivery, and grocery delivery service: The district had a 16 percent growth in package volume in calendar year 2016 over the previous year, topping 101 million packages. In some areas, package deliveries now regularly occur early in the morning and as late as 10 p.m.

We found a mix of underlying reasons for missing the targeted return time: Insufficient staffing, late or improper mail arrival, inaccurate route adjustments, and insufficient supervision. The Postal Service agreed with our recommendations to improve the underlying conditions.

We welcome your suggestions as well. What more could be done to get carriers off the streets on time? Given all the variables that can affect the ability to complete deliveries by the targeted time, what additional precautions could be taken to enhance carrier safety?


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Kyle Rice

Get rid of Amazon.

Shani Kin

Why? That’s not the solution

Kyle Rice

i would get back before 5 without Amazon. That’s why.

Catherine A Bodnar

You wouldn’t have to worry about getting done by 5/6 because you wouldn’t have a job.

Melissa Pratt

We need amazon.

Steeley Mcbeam

Amazon will be gone soon, they are already delivering 80% of their own packages where i deliver


Amazon is HORRIBLE at delivering their own stuff! We need the revenue and we know our jobs the best.

Tracy Hopkins Sharp

I wouldn’t mind Amazon so much if we were being paid for it!

Jeannette D

You are getting paid to deliver Amazon.

Oi veh.

Not if you’re a rural carrier.

Carol Rohrer

Yes you are- if you are not you need to ask for an inspection

Carly gervais

Rural union agreed to no mail count for 2017, rural carriers routes will not be counted until feb 2018. That means rural carriers have been delivering amazon for free


A rural mail count might be a good idea, perhaps.

Shani Kin

Inspection has absolutely nothing to do with our pay. Mail Count has everything to do with our pay. We will not have another mail count, where carriers have the option to count until 2018. Only special circumstance routes are currently being counted.


If you are a CCA maybe, not RCAS.

M Redden

Amazon was in before our last count so during the week we don’t get extra time for the packages on Sunday yeah we get paid but they gripe if we don’t get back fast enough but driving 30 minutes between stops sometimes is a little much or having to go to a different county to deliver packages during the same load



Kyle Rice

Tracy Hopkins Sharp this is another thing no one realizes.


Dumbest suggestion yet.

Christopher Paradise

Stop overloading us with shit!!! It takes a brainiac to figure that out?

Tina Marie Greiner
Shawna Miller Krzynowek

Let them come in early instead of pushing their time back. Duh!

Anthony Young


Christina Cichomski-Salonek

I’m in at 6:15….didnt get done till after 5:30 on Friday…5:15 on Saturday.

Jeffrey Scarlett

We start at 8. SO that would it make us after 7…


That’s awesome, now imagine if your start time was moved to 830am.


We start at 8am and they want us back by the 5:30 truck. That only leaves us with 1hr of o.t. So stupid, no reason not to let us start early.

Regina Flowers

Anthony Young true, that would help a lot especially at Christmas time????

Shawna Miller Krzynowek

7:45 am here. As soon as the time changes it will be dark at 4:30!

Kathy Viapiano

8:30 here. Ridiculous!


They cut clerk hours and then the clerks are slow so getting there early just leaves us waiting on clerks ! Ugh !!!

Heather Rawlings

For starters quit pushing our start times back later and later!!

Lindi Edens

Count all the routes so they are properly adjusted.

Karen Addison Adams

That only works if managers/counters are honest and few are.

Carolyn Hoopaw Stephens

And another rca quit today.

Lindi Edens

Carolyn Hoopaw Stephens What? Who??

Lindi Edens

Karen Addison Adams That makes no sense to me, but I hear it a lot. If managers have better counts, their offices grow, which makes their numbers look better, which means they get a bigger raise or even a higher level of office.

Carolyn Hoopaw Stephens

Lindi Edens I sent you a text.

Karen Addison Adams

I heard my manager tell the ups guy we would be sending packages back to them and fed ex for the next two weeks at last count and the numbers were down. Nobody ever said that managers were smart. He also wouldn’t honor do not bend as packages but wouldn’t let us bend them into the box. We had to take them to the door. Put it on count disagreement form but never got an answer. Just because you have it good doesn’t mean everybody else does. I asked him why he didn’t want a good count and the answer… Read more »

Cara Weston

Exactly. Managers don’t do honest counts because they are just following the orders of someone above them who wants to see more productivity out of less personnel. They want carriers off the street by six, they have to readjust the routes honestly. That would probably require a top level manager sending the order down.

Shani Kin

When mail count is over grieve it.

Ryan Walton

Hire more people.

Nieked Dav

Quit expecting 10hrs (or more) work done in a 8hr day

Carol Rohrer

Can I give this 100 thumbs up!

Mike Dixon

1st and 2nd class out the door…..PM case in the afternoon

Misty Black

That would work great on Saturdays and Mondays when the volume is awful. But in our office, we still wouldn’t have our packages on time

Mike Dixon

Then that’s where they need to put some fire behind the parcel clerks rear end……Lol

Jerryl Ann Wilson Smith

Yep!!!!! We have two and sometimes three, distribution clerks in my office. One of them stands around reading customer’s magazines or just wandering around instead of working mail. And she gets away with it!!!

Suzanne Brugioni Stidham

How about hiring arc’s to deliver all the god awful amazon humungous packages if all rcas are working? I spend more time deliver super duper large boxes than anything else.

Tracy Coffey

City carriers and CCAs? What about rural routes? ? the PO says they want ideas? Yeah right. They know the problem they just dont care.

Michelle Ellis

They always ask for our opinion, why? I don’t know,cause they don’t listen anyway. And while we’re on that topic the VOE Survey…. That’s a joke too!

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