• USPS Getting Into The Business Of Delivering Groceries

    A taxpayer advocacy group claims that a new delivery service is just an attempt by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to avoid making “real reforms”.

    The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) initially gave approval on Thursday for the USPS to begin an experimental market trial of Customized Delivery, “a package delivery service offering that will provide customers with delivery of groceries and other prepackaged goods.” (RELATED: Struggling US Postal Service to Launch New Apparel Line)

    Operational testing of the program began in August, but was limited to 38 ZIP codes. The decision by the PRC authorizes the USPS to test the program in “major metropolitan markets nationwide” over the next two years.

    As the service is currently structured, retailers drop off pre-packaged customer orders to the USPS between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., and they are then delivered to individual recipients, “primarily during a 3 a.m. to 7 a.m. delivery window.”

    In a press release, David Williams, president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), objected to the decision, which he said was made “without presenting a single cost-benefit analysis or financial data to convincingly show that it would not cause the USPS to lose money or interfere with current private sector delivery services.”

    “Efforts by the USPS to enter into a new, private market is simply another way for the agency to expand their reach without instituting real reform,” Williams claimed, adding that the Postal Service should focus instead on “its mandate of delivering the mail on time to its customers anywhere in the country.” (RELATED: The Postal Service Needs Structural Reform, Not a Bailout)

    According to the PRC, the TPA was the only organization to submit comments on the proposal, arguing that, “expanding grocery delivery services to additional markets will harm private providers.”

    The PRC’s Public Representative (a PRC employee tasked with representing the public interest on such matters) disagreed, concluding that, “insufficient information exists to assess whether the market test will cause market disruption.”

    However, she did suggest that, “the Commission may analyze market disruption by evaluating the operational test,” and said the USPS “should provide advance notice of changes to the market test that may impact the market disruption analysis.” (RELATED: Post Office Loss Swells to $1.9 Billion in Second Quarter)

    Given the uncertainty surrounding the program’s eventual impact on the market, Williams concluded, the USPS “should not be working to compete with American businesses.”

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