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13-01-2021, 12:31 PM

Re: Hats Off To Royal Mail...

Originally Posted by OldGreyFox ->
Even while I was walking the streets with a postbag on my back I could see the deterioration of the service. However, due to Royal Mails obligation to deliver to every house in mainland Britain every day if they had mail, we were taken advantage of By companies like 'Business Post' and others who did not have their own delivery service and Royal Mail were obligated to deliver their post for a fraction of the cost, and the lion's share of the profit went to them. Because of this Royal Mails Letters service had to become more expensive and in some areas was no longer competitive.

When Royal Mail became a private company it was allowed to raise it's prices, something it was not allowed to do as a public company without first jumping through hoops and proving justification to OFCOM? Royal Mail has tried to modify the service over the last few years to remain viable, and as a result the 'Letters' side of the business has not made a profit since before I left, but the obligation remains, so if your letters arrive late, or your postie is a different person each day it's because change is still taking place in the 'Letters' part of the business but the postmen and women do their best against all odds to provide an efficient and friendly service.
Thanks for that OGF.

A very good friend of mine (recently deceased without even reaching his 50's, not that this is relevant) was a Postie, so I understand the obligation conundrum very well.

Like I said earlier though, Royal Mail's place in our modern world looks more tenuous every year and without help I really do not see how it can continue to fulfil the necessary obligations.

The cost of posting a letter in the UK has some way to go before it reaches even the European average so there's a little scope for break-even to be achieved yet, but IMHO more price rises - especially if too soon - are likely to be counter-productive and that is probably the industry's fear too.
I know that there is discussion under way to cease Saturday deliveries too, but that will not be enough to do more than delay what will most probably turn out to be drastic change with Royal Mail and before too much longer, I suspect.
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13-01-2021, 03:43 PM

Re: Hats Off To Royal Mail...

Neat story, OGF.

Your postal service seems to have passed the test, but the overall slide sounds very much like our own. Slowly, the parcel services have all but taken away package delivery as cost overruns, budget cuts, and just pure laziness has made even the most loyal of us calling for privatization.

The question is how private companies would be accountable to the most rural and most important mail. Seems he balance of public and private remains a question.I am frankly amazed at how well of the companies, include the post office do such a good job.

I lost my faith when my mail kept getting delayed and finally got a stack of it wrapped in a rubber band, but covered with coffee stains where the delivery man had obviously taken it home and used it as a beverage coaster.
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13-01-2021, 10:50 PM

Re: Hats Off To Royal Mail...

Thanks Zaphod and Surfermom I think we are all in agreement that the letters business has got to come up with something to compete with electronic mail and until they do the rising prices will just add to its demise.

You're right Zaphod, stopping Saturday deliveries was being considered when I was still working for Royal Mail. When I first started working as a postman, you would have your own walk that you did five days per week. The sixth day was done by a Coverman who would do a different round each day, covering the same five postmen's rolling day off each week.

I volunteered to be a coverman because it was more varied and interesting, but it took longer to learn because it was a different walk each day. By removing the need to deliver Saturdays, the regular postman would work his five days and a coverman would not be required. Considering there were twelve covermen in our delivery office of about sixty postmen/women, so a considerable amount of money could be saved by only delivering the post for five days.

Another saving that did take place during my employment was the provision of a van for every two postmen. They would work in tandem from the same van. No more bicycles to supply or maintain. No more bags of post having to be delivered to the little grey boxes or willing shops that would take bags of post (for a small payment) so the postman on foot or bike, could leave his empty bags and collect his next full bags. And no more transport needed for the postman who's walk was a long way from the office. You weren't allowed to use your own vehicle to deliver the post, your private car is not insured for work. I was the exception and could use my own van, because having been a courier, I was insured for the carriage of goods.

And finally, no need for separate parcel delivery vehicles, used for parcels too big for a foot postman to manage. Now we had our own vans we could take our own large parcels. So a fleet of 30 small vans at our delivery office replaced twice that many large passenger and parcel carrying vans and bicycles. Now the the little grey boxes sit rusting away at the side of the road, and they no longer have to pay shops to look after the fresh bag of post. On average, your actual postie will deliver four bags of post each day. My rounds usually contained about six or seven hundred delivery points.
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