Guest post by Older and Wiser.
Older and Wiser is a rural carrier.
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This is how I see it!
This blog is another article regarding the Industrial Study and my hope that all of our tasks, especially those often lost to those outside of the carrier field, are included in the study.
The first matter I would like to tackle is traffic lights. We all have to go through them as we travel on our routes and I would like to make sure that we are properly credited with the time we are left sitting, doing nothing, until we can continue our travels. I don’t know what would be considered the average number of traffic lights all of the rurals encounter across the country. How will the study come up with that average? How will that number affect the travel speed of an LLV on a route? I might have a better solution. Take traffic lights out of the equation for determining our driving speed. It will at least make that task easier. How about we handle traffic lights separately? I will use an unscientific, but common sense, method for my example. I go through 22 traffic lights on my route. Let’s assume I have to stop at half of the lights for a number of 11. Traffic lights have different lengths of time, but I will use 25 seconds of wait time for my example, and an extra 5 seconds for the time it takes to slow down for the light and the time to accelerate to the appropriate speed for a total of 30 seconds. Doing the math, I have 11 traffic lights X 30 seconds equals 5 minutes 30 seconds X 6 days a week would be 33 minutes. This time would be like a surcharge added to the Route Time on my evaluation. In this way, I would get proper credit for the exact number of traffic lights that I actually encounter, no more – no less.
My next subject is one that we all put up with, that is blocked mailboxes. In the PO-603 it says, “When snow, vehicles, or other objects temporarily block access to individual boxes, dismount to make delivery when such service can be provided…” The end of the sentence should say, “BUT WE WILL NOT PAY YOU TO DO THIS.” Well, it is time to pay the piper. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be paid. If the USPS does not want to pay us, then please delete the above sentence from the manual. Then, it will be up to our discretion to dismount or not. Assuming that they want us to continue to provide this service, how many emergency dismounts should we be credited with on a daily basis? I will leave that up to our friendly engineers, but my appraisal is 3 dismounts a day with a 4th added during gardening season to account for the outdoor contractors who specialize in trying to block every mailbox in town. Do I need to dismount that many times a day? Honestly, the answer is No. But, how often do I slowly nudge garbage cans out of the way or unbuckle my seatbelt to lean way out of the window to deliver mail over bags of grass and re-buckle again. This all takes time, time that we should be paid. It is only fair.