The Postal Service estimates that it carries 1.4 billion pieces of mail each day. That translates to 2.6 million miles per day. But how far does a postal worker walk each day?The Postal Service estimates that it carries 1.4 billion pieces of mail each day. That translates to 2.6 million miles per day. But how far does a postal worker walk each day?
This is the question asked in a job listing posted by the USPS in 2010. The answer given was: “A Postal Service vehicle may travel up to 18,000 miles during a workday, which is about 10 miles every hour and 3 hours a day.”
How Far do Mail Carriers Walk Each Day?
In the United States, there are three types of postal carriers, and their daily walking distances vary depending on where they work and the type of route they are responsible for delivering mail for.
People who live in cities are more likely to walk than those who live in suburbs since their journeys are shorter and more direct. Contract carriers often use motor vehicles to make their excursions in rural regions and on roads.
Letter carriers in the United States, both urban and rural, are recognized, unionized USPS employees. Highway contract carriers are independent firms.
Every postal carrier’s first visit of the day is the sorting facility, where they gather mail for their routes. Postal facilities organize mail by zip code first, then by carrier route. Depending on population density, a single ZIP code may have anywhere from five to fifteen separate routes operating.
Each postal carrier organizes their mail one more time, developing the ideal technique for their route. Because the bulk of couriers travel the same routes every day, they come to know their postal clientele very well.
Postal delivery routes in a city may require both walking and driving. Mail for a driving route is loaded into a postal service vehicle and driven to its final destination.
Several cities require carriers to park in a central location and deliver mail from there before proceeding on to another central location to avoid having to continuously stop and start mail vans at each stop along the route.
This lowers the likelihood of postal vehicles being involved in traffic accidents or being stolen. Those that drive routes walk and drive a particular number of miles every day, and if they haven’t already, they may return to the postal facility to pick up more mail.
Typically, delivery staff on foot cover the area closest to the mail processing facility. A large city with several post offices may have numerous different routes for delivering mail. These people may go up to 10 miles (16 km) round way to deliver mail while carrying their mail in shoulder sacks or small hand-wheeled carts.
Contract carriers sometimes rely solely on their cars to fulfill their journeys in rural regions and on roads. These cars might be privately owned autos adapted for postal duty or official Postal Service vehicles.
Because most rural mailboxes are close to the road, postal couriers spend very little time walking. Every day, mail couriers must walk considerable distances and handle huge boxes as they prepare for their routes.
Understanding Mail Carriers
Job Description and Requirements
The United States Postal Service employs carriers who sort and carry mail to customers’ residences. Every day begins in a local or regional post office, where personnel wait for mail trucks from a central sorting facility to arrive.
While the great majority of mail is ready to travel as soon as it arrives, a few items must still be handled manually before the route can begin.
Most city carriers will drive a company-supplied postal truck to their route, get out to make deliveries, and then continue on to the next station on their route. If you’re thinking about becoming a carrier, keep in mind that some workers walk up to 12 miles each day on the job.
Couriers in remote regions may use their own vehicles and are reimbursed for mileage in addition to their standard income. A rural road that is more than 150 miles long and with hundreds of mailboxes is not unusual.
The pay scale for a postal carrier considers both travel distance and the number of mailboxes and vehicles visited.
Education Requirements and Training
A high school diploma or its equivalent is all that is required for a career as a mail carrier in the traditional sense. To work for the postal service, however, you must have a civil service test score of 70 or above.
Exam registration comprises completing an online application for a job with the United States Postal Service and being assigned a testing day and time. Following the exam, a drug test, background check, and driving record check will be conducted, followed by an interview with the local post office.
Training programs are provided by the USPS for all new employees. Training requirements and duration vary by position (Rural Carrier Associate vs. City Carrier Associate), although both types of associates get basic training in safety procedures, vehicle operation, and postal service norms.
Education, Training, & Certification
To work for the United States Postal Service, you must be at least 16 years old and have completed high school, or 18 years old otherwise. Mail carriers are not required to have a four-year degree, but they must be able to demonstrate competency in name and number verification in a short period of time.
Postal service positions are only available to US citizens, citizens of US territories, and lawful permanent residents. Asylum, refugee, and conditional permanent resident status do not eligible for US Postal Service employment.
Candidates who are authorized must also pass a physical examination and a drug test. Applicants must also show that they are responsible drivers.
Transportation firms must function in a timely and dependable manner. Knowing your way around the physical terrain of the region is a prerequisite. It’s also critical to understand the postal system and the things available to you.
Mail Carrier Skills & Competencies
These skills and characteristics are required for postal carriers to accomplish their tasks effectively:
- Interpersonal skills: Ability to connect with and help members of the public in a positive, helpful way
- Organization and efficiency: Maintaining order and efficiency to guarantee timely delivery of all public mail.
- Sincerity and dependability: To ensure the security of sensitive information and monetary transactions conveyed by conventional mail,
- Long-term physical exertion capacity: Driving long distances with heavy mail bags and parcels
Postal employees have a lot of trust put in them, thus they should constantly accomplish their tasks correctly and exactly.
Industry and Environment
Carriers with the United States Postal Service spend the most of their working days outside, sometimes alone. The mail is not always delivered in the harshest weather conditions, although it is delivered frequently enough.
On a cold day, you must be able to negotiate a city street while evading ice patches and strolling down a wet sidewalk.
When it’s really hot outside, rural delivery truckers must contend with flooded roads, and vice versa. Full-time carriers carry mail on all six days of the week, whereas part-time carriers work five days a week but have a replacement deliver the mail on the sixth day and on holidays.
Every day begins at the same time, and all mail collected from drop boxes and mailboxes throughout your route must be brought to the post office by the end of the day in time for the evening pickup.
Carriers convey not just mail, but also parcels of all sizes and freight. Customers will need to contact the firm because many packages will require signatures. It is critical to be able to show the Postal Service in a positive light to consumers.
Years of Experience and Salary
Mail carriers earn an average yearly salary of $57,000 as of May 2017. This means that half of all postal carriers earn more, while the other half get less. Letter carriers earn an average of $61,110 per year, with the lowest paid earning only $33,420. USPS carriers are compensated differently for different types of routes.
Carriers in the city are paid by the hour, whilst those in the countryside are paid a fixed daily rate regardless of how long it takes them to complete their routes.
Carrier drivers in both cities and rural areas are paid the same hourly rate. Carriers who use their own vehicles will also get $0.70 per mile driven beginning January 1, 2018.
Pay is quite consistent among states, with just a $1,360 compensation differential between the top five. The states with the highest-paid postal carriers, based on median earnings, are:
- Hawaii: $52,100
- California: $51,420
- Massachusetts: $50,930
- New Jersey: $50,880
- District of Columbia: $50,740
The majority of employees in the United States Postal Service work full-time. Overtime is periodically required, especially around the holidays. To guarantee that mail is delivered on a daily basis, many USPS employees must work on Saturdays. Some people can work on Sundays.
How to Get the Job
If you want to become a postal carrier, go to the USPS Careers page. Learn more about working for the US Postal Service, search available openings, and apply online.
As part of the application process, applicants must submit a test score. It’s divided into several sections that assess factors like character, recollection, and attentiveness. Examinees may also anticipate to be tested on postal etiquette, for which they will be given a thorough list to refer to while answering questions.
Check out sites like Indeed, Monster, and Glassdoor to see what jobs are currently available.
Jobs Growth Trend
The number of workers employed by the postal service is expected to fall by 13% between 2016 and 2026 as a result of increased automation and decreased mail volume.
Mail carriers are losing their jobs as a result of automation, which has reduced the amount of time they spend in the office processing mail and, as a result, route consolidation.
A mail carrier starts their daily routes at about 4 am, and they walk up to 12 miles per day, carrying around 45 pounds of mail in each hand and delivering over 6 million pieces of mail every single day.
They make their deliveries at the beginning of the month. They start at the beginning and work their way through all the mail in that month.
If they don’t make a delivery on a certain day, they go back to the beginning of the month and try again next month.
The average rural mail route is 45 miles long and serves 493 mailboxes. More than 20,000 rural routes nationwide now have postal vehicles assigned to them instead of a rural carrier’s own private car or truck. The Postal Service adds an average of seven new rural mail routes each business day, due to growth nationwide.
As a CCA, you’ll be expected to work 7 days a week, including Sundays and all holidays. You’ll get the worst routes, because everything goes by seniority, expect to walk 12 or more miles a day. The pay isn’t bad, but you’ll get no benefits.
“The systems we use to help us plan the most effective delivery walks have been successfully used nationwide in many hundreds of delivery offices since 1996. “The average postman or woman covers just over five and a half miles on their walk over a three-and-a-half-hour period.”
The Postal Service added an average of 5,825 addresses to its delivery network every day in 2021. On average, the Postal Service processes and delivers 167.3 million pieces of First-Class Mail each day.
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