Postal U-turn

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There was good news in the House of Assembly on Friday when Economy Minister Patrice Minors announced that one of the worst decisions made in the last ten years was being “relaxed”.

This was the “return to sender” rule for minor address mistakes. Despite Ms Minors’ best efforts to turn this U-turn into some kind of victory, it must surely be clear that no policy did more to hurt the Post Office and to send it on its way to permanent irrelevance.

Ms Minors admitted as much when she said that the policy, which she said was introduced to make the Post Office more efficient and effective and “to consistently meet the high delivery standard”, was being relaxed to “become more customer focused”.

Mrs Minors did say that the policy has saved government some $30,000 to $35,000 a month in time previously taken to get mail to the correct address.

But, and she must be given credit for honesty, she also admitted that almost half of the incorrectly addressed mail 45 percent could have been delivered with little difficulty.

All of that was a set-up for Ms Minors’ big confession. She told Shadow Education Minister Dr Grant Gibbons that the Post Office is delivering one million fewer pieces of mail annually than it was when the policy was introduced three years ago.

So while there have been savings of around $420,000 a year, the Post Office is now seeing at least $350,000 less in revenue as a result of the reduction in mail. In fact, according to the Budget, Post Office revenue is expected to fall $800,000 from $6.2m to $5.4m in the current year.

It is impossible to say whether the return to sender rules resulted in the total drop in usage, but for people already considering sending information by means other than the Post Office, it had to be the tipping point for many who now send and pay bills, letters, invitations and Christmas cards by e-mail and the Internet and documents by courier and post cards. And the short term savings must have been more than offset by the destruction in goodwill that occurred as a result.

So this is an example of Government doing too little too late to repair a problem of its own making. Again, this was a policy decision that was warned against at the time, and again the warnings were ignored.

If there is an expectation that customers will return to the Post Office, it will be dashed. For the most part, the decision showed people they no longer needed the Post Office. And in the end, the Post Office managers and staff who forced this policy on their customers will be the losers.

Making memories

The Royal Gazette has thrown its weight behind the Bermuda Road Safety Council’s “Making Memories” campaign, which encourages people to get their pictures taken at the BRSC’s photo booths as part of the effort to get people to take care on the roads this Christmas season.

Quite simply, is drink driving and getting into a collision resulting in serious injury or death really worth it when it will mean that adults, children, relatives and friends will be left only with memories of the victim or victims?

Surely not. So we urge everyone to take care on the roads this year. And if you need a reminder of why, just check the photo galleries on www.royalgazette.com and the BRSC’s Facebook page.

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Published Dec 5, 2011 at 8:04 am (Updated Dec 5, 2011 at 8:09 am)

Postal U-turn

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