Delivering change

While the Postal Service has more than 230,000 vehicles in its delivery fleet today, until 1970, most letter carriers delivered mail on foot.

“They didn’t have no trucks when we started. When I started, you went to your route on the bus,” recalled Alfonzo T. Wilson Jr., a Cleveland letter carrier who began his postal career in 1957.

Wilson is one of 25 employees who participated in the USPS 50th Anniversary Oral History Project, which the organization recently conducted to mark its transition from the Post Office Department to an independent federal agency on July 1, 1971.

In Beverly, MA, Thomas S. Dean recalled carriers being trucked to their routes.

“When I first started there was probably three trucks in the whole town. And those trucks took the carriers, four or five carriers at a time, to their spot where they were dropped off. Then you’d drop off their relays [mail prepared for delivery along a route] and probably parcels,” said Dean, who became a letter carrier in 1967.

But the 1960s saw the Post Office Department introduce delivery vehicles for carriers, including a three-wheel vehicle called a Mailster.

“I used a Cushman scooter-type thing [Mailster], something like what a traffic officer for the police department would use to mark parking downtown,” said Ronald E. Emerick, an Oceanside, CA, letter carrier who began his postal career in 1966.

Chevrolet Chevettes and AMC Ambassadors were also put into service for carriers.

The Chevettes “were so small that you’d have to take the seats out, except for the driver’s seat, to get the mail in,” Wilson recalled.

Mailsters were ultimately deemed unsafe and were largely replaced by the iconic Jeep mail delivery vehicles by the early 1970s.

Emerick recalled using a different type of Jeep, a “Fleetvan,” which had a fold-up seat so carriers could drive it while standing.

“It was very slender,” Emerick said. “It was a stand-up vehicle, where it really just had a lean bar on it, no seat.”

Jeeps continued as the primary delivery vehicle until 1987, when the current long-life vehicles, known as LLVs, joined the fleet.

“In my opinion, this vehicle has been the best of all of them, as far as delivering mail,” Emerick said.

During the decades since their introduction, the LLVs have been supplemented by minivans and then Ram ProMaster 2500 cargo vans, which are used for mail collection, package delivery and relay drop-offs.

The Postal Service is currently in the process of a 10-year effort to replace the LLVs with a next-generation delivery vehicle, called NGDVs.

The first NGDVs are expected to join the fleet in 2023.

This is the third of four articles spotlighting “Fifty Years of Service to the Nation: Highlights From the USPS 50th Anniversary Oral History Project.” Share your feedback at link@usps.gov.

On the way

Postmasters and customer services managers will soon receive a Business Connect kit that offers strategies for promoting USPS products and services to small businesses.

The kits, which will be mailed around July 29, contain a welcome letter, an information sheet, a quick reference card and a tear pad.

“Now is the time to show small businesses how the Postal Service can help them to grow with our various products and services,” said Dorothy Muir, small-business sales program specialist at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC. “The kits have materials that will help you have quality conversations and build relationships.”

Business Connect began in 2005 as a way for Postmasters, managers and supervisors to have discussions with customers about USPS products and services.

Training deadline

The Postal Service is reminding employees who process the organization’s sensitive information that their assigned cybersecurity training courses must be completed soon.

These employees have been assigned one of the following two courses in HERO:

• CyberSafe Fundamentals, which provides instructions on how to adhere to cybersecurity practices and policy to protect USPS electronic information; and

• CyberSafe Fundamentals with Applying Data Security, which provides instructions on best practices for protecting the Postal Service’s electronic information, including how to handle sensitive and sensitive-enhanced information and how to keep USPS electronic data secure.

Employees should check HERO for their assigned due date. Those who miss the deadline could lose their ACE computer access until the training is completed.

For more information, go to the CyberSafe at USPS Blue training page or send an email to CyberSafeComms@usps.gov.

News Briefs

Scanning snapshot

Scanning snapshot. A snapshot of Postal Service scanning data shows the national rating was 97.06 percent during the week ending July 23, down 0.03 percent from one week earlier.

The data was collected July 28.

Western Pacific led the four areas with a rating of 97.24 percent, while Atlantic ranked last with a 96.79 percent rating.

Among the 50 districts, Washington, part of Western Pacific Area, ranked first with a 98.01 percent rating, while California 4, also part of the area, ranked last with a 95.12 percent rating.

Scanning data allows customers to track their mail and packages, which helps USPS deliver excellent service, boost loyalty and drive revenue.

To see the latest data, go to the Informed Visibility website and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.” Postal Service employees must request Informed Visibility access through eAccess.

Delivery data. The Postal Service reported continued improvements in the delivery of First-Class Mail, Marketing Mail and Periodicals last week.

New stamps. USPS will dedicate its Backyard Games stamps Thursday, Aug. 12, at the Great American Stamp Show in Rosemont, IL. The stamps will be available that day at usps.com and Post Offices nationwide.

Got news? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.