Postal Updates

Explaining the Postal Service’s delivery scores

Jun 17, 2021, 9 AM

Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister

Few of the problems Postmaster General Louis DeJoy has addressed have been more elusive than mail delivery scores.

Now the United States Postal Service is taking two steps to increase the credibility of its efforts to improve deliveries.

First, it has begun a series of news releases marking what a June 10 release called “positive improvement” in delivery rates for first-class and periodicals mail during the week of May 29 to June 4.

The other step to increase public awareness comes from the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

The inspector general is now displaying the latest quarterly mail delivery standards on a color-coded map of the country that gives a picture of where the agency is winning and losing the delivery wars.

This map and other data are available online. Overall the map shows that delivery performance is mixed.

Included with the map is a drop-down menu that provides choices to display the results for different categories of mail. The default choice is two-day delivery for first-class single-piece mail in the second quarter of fiscal year 2021. Among the data included with the map are target delivery scores, the national delivery score and the district or division results.

Also displayed are the top 10 postal areas as well as the bottom 10.

If you live on the West Coast, chances are your deliveries are coming on time.

But in the East, it’s another story. Deliveries there still seem to be caught in the slowdown that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic when worker illnesses slowed mail dramatically across the country.

The national target for first-class single-piece mail deliveries in the second quarter was 87.8 percent on time, the chart says.

Deliveries nationally hit 85.9 percent, and district or division scores were 86 percent on time.

The worst performing district was Baltimore, where 61.7 percent of first-class single-piece mail was delivered on time.

The other nine districts with the lowest first-class performance scores were Northern Ohio, 68.8 percent; Capital, 68.9 percent; Central Pennsylvania, 70.1 percent; Richmond (Va.), 70.7 percent; Philadelphia Metro, 72.7 percent; Detroit, 77 percent; Triboro (Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island), 77.5 percent; Colorado-Wyoming, 77.8 percent; and Chicago, 79.1 percent.

The best mail areas for on time delivery were Santa Ana (Calif.), 94.7 percent; Salt Lake City, 94 percent; San Diego, 93.5 percent; San Francisco, 93.5 percent; Dakotas, 93.3 percent; Bay-Valley, 93 percent; Sierra Coastal, 92.9 percent; Western New York, 92.5 percent; Seattle, 92.5 percent; and Nevada-Sierra, 92.4 percent.

The press releases focus on national statistics, not on individual districts.

The June 10 press release said that the goal remains to have 95 percent of mail delivered on time.

It did note “a slight decline” in marketing, or advertising, mail.

Marketing mail hit 90.67 percent on time, but that was a decline of 1.31 percent from the previous week, it said.

First-class mail saw 89.95 percent delivered on time, an increase of 1.06 percent from the week of May 22.

Periodicals saw 80.70 percent delivered on time, a 1.31 percent increase from the previous week.

The news release attributed the improvements to “the implementation of key initiatives” in DeJoy’s “Delivering for America” plan. That’s the 10-year plan DeJoy has announced to end years of multi-billion dollar postal deficits.

“The Postal Service continues its efforts to stabilize and improve service performance throughout the summer while addressing ongoing employee availability challenges,” the June 10 release said.

Postal Service spokesman David Partenheimer said the agency is planning future news releases to mark the agency’s continuing efforts to improve service.

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