Monday, January 4, 2010

What is rural?

A reader wrote me with this comment:

"We should Redefine what 'rural' delivery actually is. Today we have so many 'rural' routes that are smack in the middle of a major city/suburban area that there is nothing 'rural' about them. 'Rural' should meet the definition found in any dictionary."

So, what is rural delivery to you? Comment here.


Anonymous said...

Rural routes are a part of history.
There's been changes all around and seasons come and go and we still get the mail through. Be it all kinds of mailboxes, peoples, homes, residential, shopping centers, malls, businesses, orchards, vineyards, borders, people get their mail from rural carriers who get regular route counts and big cuts in pay everytime there's a count, they have had thousands of dollars in pay cuts doing the same route for say 17 years for example.
The pay has fluxuated at times over the years too. The highest pay you can recieve is $66,000 and NO RURAL ROUTE out there is recieving that.
RR 17 D.Carey
Hudson Station

Anonymous said...

This is something that's wrong with USPS now - we started making everthing rural delivery because they are cheaper than city routes. It "means" nothing at all - a rural carrier may walk 7 miles a day. We circumvent our own rules and regulations whenever it saves a buck.

Merk said...

Deliveries that used to be on the edge of a town or in a rural area are now inside city limits due to growth of towns and annexation. There is also a trend toward making city deliveries curbside to reduce time and expenses. That's a result of less mail but more delivery points. So, yes, rural does not necessarily mean "in the country" anymore, but what defines the difference between rural and city and whether a route that used to be rural can be converted to a city carrier is something the unions and management have to work out. I'm sure no rural carrier would want to lose his/her route to a city carrier and visa versa. The history of rural delivery is fascinating, from the use horse and buggy and donkeys, to sleds and boats to jeeps and LLV's. It is interesting to note the diversity in rural routes, too, as in some areas they are well over 100 miles long with about that many deliveries while other parts of the country have rural routes under 50 miles with 200+ deliveries. It shows the vast geographical differences and demographics in the United States. I think as we moved into the future and new construction picks up again we'll see more blurring between what is defined as rural delivery and what is city delivery. There may be a time when city carriers are evaluated and paid the same as rural carriers, based on mileage, volume and delivery points rather than actual hours. Both systems have pros and cons.

Anonymous said...

I live on a citi-like Rural Route, and I love it! My carrier seems to 'own' the route and I sincerely appreciate it. I understand that they may not get the same benefits and pay that a city carrier gets, but every Rural Carrier I talk to says they would much rather be a Rural Carrier than a city carrier any day... and I'd rather be a Rural Customer than a City Customer as well.

Anonymous said...

For those of us that do live in Rural America. That is exactly what it is. Rural America. This is where you will find those routes that are up and down curly, rarely maintained, billowing with clouds of dust behind you as you drive, or very muddy,then later dried out and rutted to the point they will tear up your vehicle if you dont know how to drive on them. This is where you will find miles of roads to drive just to serve a maybe a half dozen customers. Stretches of roads that will often close in high water because they run along river bottom land. This is also where you will find narrow unlined blacktops that peak and valley all over the countryside with one lane bridges, connecting those gravel or dirt roads. Blacktops that can stay icy all winter long with deep ravines falling sharply from each side of the road. These are the same areas that harbor some of the most beautiful wildlife and nature you could want to find. These rural routes have some of the most caring and genuine folks living on them. No matter who it is, if you are the carrier around here, you know each customer, their forefathers, and their children. You know where ever you on the route who owns that land next to where you are. You know that if you were to break down near one of their homes they have the tool you need, or just go to the barn or garage and get it yourself. Because if they find out you needed something when they werent home and you didnt get it, they would truly be offended. Rural means only one thing to our rural carriers. Perhaps the City Rural should be called just that. Because their routes are worlds apart in their day to day deliveries.

Anonymous said...

When you see cows and deer while on the route, that's rural.

When you have to dodge snow drifts from the wind blowing across open fields, that's rural.

When you can watch the crops grow in the summertime by driving your route every day, that's rural.

When you know all the customers on your route by name and know you could ask any of them for help, that's rural.

I've often heard it said that the job of Rural Carrier is the best job in the Postal Service!!

Anonymous said...

Rural or city....mail handler or me it's political. A city carrier and a rural carrier both deliver the why can't we combine them into a single "carrier craft." Or better yet, let's just call them "postal employees"? We are so complex that we have to have 5 different pay systems to pay all the different crafts!! The answer is very clear....because we have unions!! As we speak, we are excessing city carriers who have been around for 10+ years because the "city" routes are shrinking. They can not be transferred to rural carriers, mail handlers or clerks because of "turf wars."

Anonymous said...

You just staed what I've been saying for years. A carrier by any other name is still a carrier. They do the same jobs, they should be treated the same. Imagine how much the PO could save if city carriers were treated like rural carriers??? No DOIS, no multiple tiers of management monitoring daily performance in order to recover 15 minutes of undertime, eliminate untold numbers of reports, any probably be able to eliminate many higher level positions that seem to have nothing to due but oversee the carriers performance and criticize the offices for not pushing their carriers harder. Also eliminate all the route riding, 3999's, overtime requests, and I'm sure more things.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the increase in city rural carriers is as a result of growth, not tradition. In rapidly growing areas, it makes more sense to deploy carriers that are not paid uniform allowances, use their own vehicles and have routes based on performance and growth versus hourly rates. In the short term, the servicessaves money until it is ready to deploy LLV's or redistrict areas into city craft (subject to union approval....heaven forbid we forget that).

I agree that we should all be one craft, but it should be based on the evaluation system, not hourly + overtime.