Congress mulls plan to end doorstep mail delivery

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"I'm so, so appreciative of my mailman. I give him a Christmas present," said a homeowner on the north side after her letter carrier handed over a package in the hot sun Tuesday.

Instead, some members of Congress would like the postal service to eliminate delivery to the door. Customers could walk to so-called mail clusters on the corner, where the mail would be dropped for each address in locked boxes. Many newer developments are already using the cluster boxes.

Ending doorstep delivery would save about $4.5 billion a year. It costs the Postal Service a fixed cost of $30 billion a year to deliver mail.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), who is leading the effort in Congress, says the US Postal Service needs to adapt to changes in the way Americans are using traditional mail.

For the Luces on the north side, it can take almost two minutes to walk to their mail cluster out front - and that's in nice weather.

"We're used to going after it," said Mr. Luce.

"Kind of depends on the weather," his wife replied.

Some Eyewitness News viewers on Facebook didn't seem to mind the plan.

"I don't care. Ninety-nine percent of my mail is junk, anyway," Lanette said.

"Mail banks are a good idea. They work fine in apartment complexes," said Carol.

But mail carriers are fighting back. Their union is out with a video campaign that includes lines like, "You should say hello to your letter carrier while you still can."

Customers we met agree.

"I'm a retired GM worker," said Ed Bell.

After a stroke, Bell isn't up for a walk to the corner mail cluster.

"I don't think there's too many elderly people who can get out. That lady (a next door neighbor) is 94 years old and that lady over there is 84," said Bell's wife, Vivian.

"People may not have the capacity to go to the station," said letter carrier Anastacio Belonia.

Postal workers have been lifesavers, too. In extreme temperatures, they have found their customers unconscious, or worse. Anastacio remembers finding a customer down on the floor.

"I kind of helped him up to get to his feet," she said. "I mean, that's what we do. We have to take care of our customers."

Customers worry about postal service layoffs, too.

"People need their jobs," said Cathy Bell.

Jobs that also deliver a wave and a smile.

Learn more about the plan here.