THE BRONX — Broken mailboxes, two-hour lines and undelivered packages are all common problems with mail delivery in The Bronx, according to an audit by the U.S. Postal Service.
South Bronx Councilman Rafael Salamanca had called for an audit in the fall on postal service in borough neighborhoods including Mott Haven, Longwood and Hunts Point in response to rampant incidents of late and lost mail that he described as "a form of discrimination."
The inspector general's office at the USPS completed its audit of service in The Bronx on Thursday, and the report found numerous problems with mail delivery in the borough.
Issues included postal workers not having access to buildings where they were supposed to deliver mail, damaged and unsecured mailboxes that prevented carriers from dropping off mail, and wait times at post offices that could be up to two hours long.
The audit focused on nine Bronx post offices throughout the borough, including the Bronx General Post Office at 149th Street and Grand Concourse, and it was particularly critical of the way they handled packages, noting that one station had 420 packages in storage that were not delivered or claimed by customers and another had 428 undelivered packages that carriers had returned over a three-day period.
The USPS is taking steps to improve services in The Bronx that include purchasing new mailboxes for public housing developments, adjusting weekend hours at stations to better serve the public and having "meet and greet" sessions with customers to understand their needs better, according to the audit.
Post office officials are also working with building owners to improve mail carriers' access to mailboxes, as it is the policy of the agency to require owners of multi-unit buildings to provide appropriate access for post office employees, the audit says.
Salamanca said he was happy that the USPS conducted an audit and described it as "a good first step." He is considering proposing legislation that would make it easier for mail carriers to access buildings and will also encourage the post office to conduct more customer service training.
"We’re still in the preliminary stages," he said. "I’m going to be talking to some local leaders to get some of their ideas. How do they feel about this audit, and how would they like to respond as well?"