Despite previous denials, Royal Mail has removed 13,000 to 14,000 bikes from its operation since 2010, leaving between 3,000 to 4,000, and in 2014 even these will be phased out entirely.
Royal Mail says the removal of bikes reflects the changing nature of mail, with more packages and fewer letters making modern mailbags bulkier and heavier. Royal Mail will now mostly deliver on foot using trolleys which, it says, are more efficient than bicycles, as well as by van.
However, the move has not gone down well with postal workers. National cycling charity CTC has been inundated with disgruntled posties. One said: “I cannot think of one benefit of using vans on delivery. This is purely about cutting costs on man power, as the new teams of two in vans will be expected to do all the packet runs that are now done by larger vans, as well as their own deliveries and probably a portion of another existing round, as well as rushing around to get special deliveries completed by the 1’o’clock deadline.”
Meanwhile another added: “I would much rather have a bike with a trailer than a trolley. There are lots of situations where a bike is better. There are some streets which have very poor road surfaces which it would be extremely hard to push a trolley down, especially if there is also no pavement, which is usual on these lanes, they are bumpy on a bike but more than manageable. The bikes go through snow, but I wouldn’t like to push a trolley through it. And what about large blocks of flats? Without a delivery bag they would take forever!”
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