COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two months after the holiday shipping surge, NBC4 Investigates wanted to know why U.S. Postal Service customers in Columbus were still experiencing delivery delays.
“I hate to complain too much,” said Kevin Burke, who runs a small business from his home, importing and selling motorcycle parts online.
While Burke said mail service has improved since the holiday season, he’s still experiencing delays.
“What used to take two days now takes four, five, six, seven days,” Burke said. “As a small business, my margins are really small. And with the rates going up and the service not improving… it’s difficult.”
According to the most recent performance report from USPS, 81.5% of two-day mail and 54.6% of three-to-five-day mail was delivered on time during the final quarter of 2020. This indicates a steep decline from the same quarter in 2019, which saw on-time rates of 91.9% for two-day mail and 78.2% for three-to-five-day mail.
A regional spokesperson for USPS said much of those delays were due to record-high shipping volumes, winter weather and staffing shortages due to COVID-19. She said operations are returning to pre-Christmas levels, and expects service to improve in the weeks and months ahead.
The leader of the Columbus chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers said some of those problems continued after the holidays.
“We’re very short-staffed in a lot of different stations, and areas in the plants and also in the stations that deliver the mail,” said union president Todd Hornyak.
Hornyak said USPS is currently hiring, but until those positions are filled, letter carriers are working overtime and picking up extra routes.
“It’s been very difficult for the carriers, but our carriers are coming in working — you know — from early until late to try to make sure that all the mail is delivered to our customers,” Hornyak said.
U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy told members of the House Oversight Committee last week he’d release a ten-year improvement plan for the postal service in the next two weeks. His remarks to lawmakers did not include many details of the plan, but he said it would include longer delivery times for some first-class mail.