Postal Service consolidates mail routes

Twelve fewer routes means 12 fewer carriers, but they will be assigned elsewhere.

For some residents of Menlo Park, Portola Valley and Atherton, the consolidation of mail routes this week could switch delivery times from early morning to late afternoon, but postal workers will not be laid off locally, Menlo Park Postmaster Jeffrey D. Gaskill said in a telephone interview.

Postcards went out recently to these three communities -- Woodside will not be affected -- which are now served by 67 mail routes. Following the Postal Service consolidation on Tuesday, Aug. 30, there will be 55 routes, Mr. Gaskill said.

Delivery times will largely not change, he added, unless you happen to live at the beginning or end of a route that is being absorbed by two nearby routes. In those cases, residents may see their morning delivery change to the afternoon or vice versa, he said.

With 12 fewer routes, there will be 12 fewer carriers but they will be reassigned to local post offices that need them, given that there is no hiring going on, Mr. Gaskill said.

On average, a mail carrier now spends three hours in the office sorting the mail and five hours delivering it, Mr. Gaskill said. With the new routes and sorting machines, that equation will change to one and a half to two hours in the office and five to six hours on the street.

Customers and mail carriers have expressed sadness about the changes, Mr. Gaskill said. Some carriers have had the same route for 20 years and have seen residents' kids grow up.

"It has happened before, just not this dramatic," he said.

The post office that serves Woodside is not equipped with the advanced mail sorting equipment and so is not participating in this nationwide consolidation, Mr. Gaskill said.

"It's no secret that we're losing money," Mr. Gaskill said, referring to the Postal Service as a whole. "We're doing what we can to reduce costs and not reduce personnel."

And the spirit in the local post offices? "There's a lot of worrying about what's going on," Mr. Gaskill said. "We're letting our employees know what the state of the business is."

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Like this comment
Posted by Jenny Redo
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm

We are losing our wonderful postal carrier, George Yuen, who has been with us since we moved in. We are extremely sad to see him go.

The town of Atherton, over the last ten years, has come to rely on Mr. Yuen for his timely, friendly, and very accurate service to our area. Many of our residents rely on his service for their business and personal communication. We have all become friends with Mr. Yuen and rely on him.

I mailed at letter stating such to Mr. Gaskill, who never bothered to return a note or call in response to my letter. I am afraid whoever replaces Mr. Yuen will have the same service attitude which Mr. Gaskill displays. I will have to start re-acquiring my mail and packages all over town (which was what happened last time Mr. Yuen was removed from our route).

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