Anger at post collection shake-up

THE Royal Mail has come under fire after it stopped listing daytime collection times on post-boxes in Suffolk.The company now only guarantees to make one collection from each post-box at the end of the day– and claims this makes no difference to the next day delivery times.

By Richard Smith

THE Royal Mail has come under fire after it stopped listing daytime collection times on post-boxes in Suffolk.

The company now only guarantees to make one collection from each post-box at the end of the day– and claims this makes no difference to the next day delivery times.

Previously, most post-boxes listed a number of pick-up times, with the next one signified by a number placed in a metal slot.

Now they are being scrapped and the only specified collection time is the last one at the end of the day. The lack of the number in the metal slot also means people making a last minute dash to post a letter will not know if the postman has already been.

It means people who want to post letters early in the morning – believing they may have a better chance of reaching the destination the next day – have no way of knowing what time it will be collected.

Most Read

The Royal Mail says daytime collections are still being made where needed, but objectors argue customers will have no way of knowing about them.

Last night, a Royal Mail spokeswoman said it made no difference when a person posted their mail during the day as long as it was put in the post-box by the last collection time. The sorting was done at night and first class mail was delivered the next morning.

She said there would still be collections during the day but Royal Mail did not have the space on new-look notices – brought in to comply with Disability Discrimination laws – to give all collection times.

The notices now state the last collection time from an individual box, the latest collection time in the area from a main post office, and contact details.

It also states: "Additional collections will be made throughout the day as required until the last time shown.''

But Postwatch, a consumer watchdog for postal services, said yesterday: ''The feedback we are getting from customers is that they do not know when the last post has gone.

"They say that sometimes the information given on the notice about the latest collection from another post box is not always geared to the customer and that post box could be several miles away.

''Why did Royal Mail not communicate with people to say what was changing then people would have understood?''

The changes have started taking place in Woodbridge and Felixstowe which are part of the IP postcode, now the 12th worst in the country for failing to deliver first class letters on time. Just under nine out of 10 first class letters reach their destination by the next day.

Fred Reynolds, a Woodbridge town councillor, said: "I think it is something to do with the fact that the post office is losing money and they are trying to economise.

''I suppose, having abandoned second deliveries, there was now no point in posting early in the day in the hope that you would get the second delivery. Now they scoop everything up at 5pm.''

Bob Feltwell, chief executive of the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped the changes would guarantee a more swift and efficient delivery service.

"If the money saved reducing the number of collections can guarantee collection today for delivery tomorrow than that would be better than the current system, where we have been subject to frequent delays," he said.

Frank Warby, owner of Fawn Insurance Service and councillor for Eastgate ward in Bury St Edmunds, said he believed the move indicated a slow erosion of services.

He added: "The business community is being hit yet again. This is the thin end of the wedge. We need to count on a good postal service in the countryside."

Mike Brundle, of Abbey Blinds Ltd in Bury, however, added: "Regardless of when collections are made, being able to post a letter to anywhere in the UK for just 27 pence is still a very good service."

Royal Mail said it needed to make the changes to ensure that people with impaired sight could read the notices and that more relevant information could be included.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter