Monday, March 30, 2009

USPS changes the rules for Carrier Routing

This may seem like minutiae as Carrier Routes (CRRT's) are the smallest denomination of USPS service. But if you mail at CRRT rates, this is truly important stuff. It directly affects your wallet. And yes, this change is absolutely related to the flats processing changes mentioned above. Here’s how…

The USPS is bleeding money. As a result, they want 150,000 employees to take early retirement thus saving an estimated $100 million a year.

One of the most laborious processes is having carriers manually sort their mail each day before they take to the road. Some days the sortation problem is so severe carriers don’t hit the streets until noon, and don’t get back to their stations until well after dark. That means delayed deliveries and a lot of overtime pay.

Mail carriers sort flats (ie larger pieces of mail—see the proceeding
article) and use the flats to enwrap individual letters, postcards and smaller pieces for each delivery address. Having addresses in a uniform position on flats helps speed the sortation process. Hence the flats processing changes outlined in the previous article.

The resulting corollary is that since mail carriers can sort their mail faster, they can get on the road earlier and reach more addresses in a single day. Since carrier routes (CRRTs) are what one carrier can deliver in one day, the USPS wants to revamp the system to take advantage of the new efficiencies.

Here’s a hypothetical example. Assume there are three adjoining CRRTs, each with 200 addresses. Because of the new processing efficiencies, the USPS can turn those 600 addresses into two carrier routes, each with 300 addresses.

The result: one letter carrier is off the payroll, the USPS saves his salary, his vehicle maintenance costs, and delivery doesn’t suffer.


More than 8000 carrier routes around the US are being redrawn, and the Washington area is in the throes of the reorganization even as I type.

The routing changes are being introduced now, but become mandatory within weeks. Hence, if you’ve got a CRRT mailing planned in the near future, let Paul & Partners know. We need to know what you’re planning so we can get the data that is appropriate for you and your mailing schedule.
Timing is everything. The penalty for non-compliance is, of course, paying more postage. Miss the transition date and pay at least 4.2 cents more per letter for your entire mailing. The penalty for flats is even more punitive.

Got questions and need answers? Call Paul & Partners. We’ll help you avoid CRRT trouble. Call us at 703-996-0800 to discuss.

See Related Article: USPS changes the rules on addressing oversized mail

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