Rural Carriers – USPS OIG wants your opinions on POV routes vs USPS vehicle routes

The U.S. Postal Service has almost 80,000 rural delivery routes serviced by some 133,000 rural letter carriers. For some of those routes, USPS provides the vehicle; for others, the carrier uses a private vehicle and receives a maintenance allowance from the Postal Service for wear and tear. In fiscal year (FY) 2020, the Postal Service paid out nearly $583 million in maintenance allowances — a rise of $71 million, or 13 percent, over FY 2015.

Not long ago, the Postal Service started converting some private-vehicle rural routes to USPS-vehicle routes, estimating the change would save $888 million over six years. For a recent audit, we reviewed a sample of these completed conversions nationwide as well as future conversions, and found that the Postal Service’s strategy for these changes was generally effective. We also discovered a few shortcomings.

For instance, maximum savings weren’t realized because USPS wasn’t implementing conversions in a timely manner, and we determined that some of the future conversions wouldn’t be the most cost-effective. We made a couple recommendations to improve the process, and Postal Service management agreed with both.

Are you a rural letter carrier, or do you know one? How does a USPS-vehicle route compare with the private-vehicle route? Does one seem more cost-effective from your point of view?

Click here to comment on the OIG page

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I worked as a rural carrier for over 30 years and I always provided my own vehicle. I always tried to furnish the newest vehicle I could afford, with many of them being brand new. The reason for this was so I didn’t always have to be repairing the vehicle, usually at night, and so I was available to report to work as scheduled. I always bought a vehicle that I could also use as my daily driver when I was off the clock. I believe a lot of carriers feel the same way. In order to do this we… Read more »

We have route with both the new Mercedes’ they brought out are rear wheel drive we have one they have replace front tire on it every 3 months and the door has locked up . It can only be repaired by a Mercedes dealer and we don’t have one with in 200 miles, so our carriers are told to just keep driving them the best they can with door and tires wearing out. Our own vehicle have not had that problems. The ema does not pay for everything but is a lot better.

Using a POV to deliver mail is extremely slow and unsafe. Most vehicles are not designed to be delivered out of and it creates a bigger headache than solution. We need postal vehicles that are designed to do the things we need them to do and asap

It would save money on hiring. A lot of people can’t afford to buy a route vehicle just to start a new job. If you ever have tried to deliver mail in an uncomfortable vehicle you know what I mean. Maybe more RCA’s would stay hired if they were supplied the proper vehicle to do the job. But then who has ever worked out of 3 or 4 different bundles while delivering 200 parcels in a left hand drive car for 30 years and barely survived?

I think it should be up to the carriers. They know their routes better than anyone and what vehicles can handle them.

No one wants to use their own vehicle to deliver. And the maintenance allowance dosen’t cover the cost of gas which is expensive these days.