When I lived in England, you could mail a letter in the afternoon, and expect your British-based recipient to get it with the morning post. Or, even better, you could mail it in the morning and, sometimes, it would arrive with the afternoon post. Yes, in the not-so-old days, Britons got their mail twice a day. Not only did that end some years ago, but the British post office is now looking at cutting off Saturday delivery:
Postal deliveries by Royal Mail could be cut from six to five days a week in the wake of a review by the postal regulator.
Royal Mail was allowed to halt second daily deliveries three years ago as part of efforts to help restore profitability but now Postcomm, the watchdog, is considering reducing compulsory deliveries to homes and workplaces to five days a week.
It is also examining a request from the postal operator to limit this universal service obligation to stamped letters and packages.
Sarah Chambers, the regulator’s chief executive, said yesterday that the current rules provided more of a “Rolls-Royce” universal service than in other European countries, where five days a week was common.
A requirement that post should be delivered to the front door was another Rolls-Royce aspect of the universal service obligation, she said, adding that post was often put in mailboxes at the entrance to a property elsewhere in Europe.
If the Royal Mail is truly running at a deficit, there’s nothing wrong with hard headed business decisions to rein in expenses — especially because people are awash in alternatives such as faxes, email and overnight delivery companies. Nevertheless, I find it sad how swiftly the change has taken place, from an old-fashioned, incredibly efficient twice daily delivery, to five days a week with the mail stopping at the edge of every person’s property.
Filed under: Britain