(WXYZ) — As mail delivery problems continue to plague metro Detroit, the Postmaster General testified in front of Congress Wednesday hinting at changes to come to the troubled service. That’s little consolation for Detroiter Mary Lucas, who says she hasn’t had mail delivered since Jan. 19.
“That’s ridiculous,” Lucas said.
The 70-year-old says she used to get mail every day in her Lexington Village neighborhood on Detroit’s west side. But now Lucas says delivery is unreliable and she often has to drive to her local post office to pick up her letters instead.
“I just want my mail. I have a neighbor who said she’s going to have her bills transferred to her daughter’s house because she can’t get them delivered here. What is that all about? These are senior citizens,” Lucas said.
She isn’t alone. The 7 Investigators continue to receive complaints about delayed mail service across metro Detroit. The delivery drama ramped up last summer and got even worse over the holidays.
Those delays are one of many topics tackled during a Congressional House Oversight Committee Hearing on Postal Service Reform on Wednesday.
“We need to pass meaningful reforms, hopefully bipartisan reforms to put the Postal Service on more sustainable financial footing,” said committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
At issue now: new legislation to end a mandate that the USPS must pre-fund retiree health care, and proposed changes to allow their retirees to access Medicare. That could save the USPS more than $10 billion.
“Our dire financial trajectory and operational network misalignment… all demand immediate action,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
DeJoy told Congress he regrets his decision to streamline truck schedules last summer which caused major delays in July, but he said that was fixed by August. DeJoy said the increased pandemic mail volumes sparked the mailing mess over the holidays.
“We had lines outside our plants because we couldn’t fit anything in our plants. That’s not an embargo, that’s being physically overwhelmed,” DeJoy said. “Nothing that’s gone on over the last four months had anything to do with my asking the trucks to run on time in July.”
DeJoy told Congress that in the coming weeks he plans to release a comprehensive plan to fix the delivery problems and end the Postal Service’s debt.
Customers like Mary Lucas say those changes can’t come soon enough because neighbors are tired of getting their bills late – or not at all.
“You are still expected to pay your rent, to pay your DTE bill, pay your cable bills, charges that you have," said Lucas about the delayed bills. "But you’re not receiving them.”
It’s not clear yet what changes are coming to first class mail or to package rates; as soon as those are made public, we’ll let you know.
“We apologize for the sporadic delivery to the Lexington Village Apartments. I can confirm delivery was completed today to that area," said USPS Strategic Communications Specialist Elizabeth Najduch. "In addition, the recent winter storms have impacted the movement of mail to the local post office. We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change on a day-to-day basis.”
Najduch also released this statement to 7 Action News:
"The Postal Service appreciates its customers and always strives to provide the best possible service to them… Customers are reminded that, if they need assistance with mailing or shipping concerns, they have a variety of options for reaching us, including contacting a supervisor or manager at their local postal station. Customers can also go to our website usps.com and click on 'Contact us' at the bottom of our homepage, or utilize this direct web address: https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/. Every email will be carefully documented and appropriate action taken to strengthen service. In addition, the official Twitter account of the United States Postal Service, managed by the Social Media staff at USPS HQ, can provide help. For customer service, please tweet @USPSHelp."
If you have a story for Heather, please email her at email@example.com