Cluster box may replace door delivery of mail - WFLA News Channel 8

Cluster box may replace door delivery of mail

Posted: Updated:
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -

You see them all over the place. Cluster boxes are places where you can use a key to collect your mail from a centralized location. In new neighborhoods, they're being installed instead of curbside mail boxes or boxes near the front door.

"I like it at my door. Convenient and safe," said postal customer Amie Quattrocki. She does not like the idea of having to trudge down the block to get her mail. "If it's raining or what have you, I just go to the door and don't have to go out. I don't have to worry about anything that's going on. It's convenient," she said.

But that delivery to your door costs the Postal Service more than $350 a year for each customer. Curbside delivery runs about $224. And, a cluster box reduces the cost to about $160.

In a year, the U.S. Postal Services estimates that could add up to $4.5 billion in savings.

The Florida Letter Carriers union says the idea will be especially difficult in Florida. "You have the elderly. You have some handicapped people. Do you think in 90 degree weather or at night, do you feel safe going out at night to a cluster box at the end of the street?" said Al Friedman, President of the union.

Friedman says the post office can find other ways to save cash.

"They still don't want to address the 5.5 billion that they're making the postal service pay for retirees' health benefits," he said.

The U.S. Postal service is in serious trouble. It lost $16 billion last year and almost $2 billion during the first quarter of this year.

Forcing people to use a cluster box is not going over well.

"I don't like that at all because, safety, and just what a hassle. You'd have to walk down here or get in your car and come down here. That's for apartment living," said Cary Bentley, a homeowner in Clearwater.

If you get your mail delivered to your door, do not worry. That is not going to change for now. But if you move to a new development, the post office is going this route, and if it gets its way, cluster boxes will be much more common.

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