The USPS Inspector General says that the USPS needs to get its act together on replacing its aged delivery fleet, which it says will only “sustain delivery operations nationwide until FY 2017”- if it’s lucky:
The Postal Service has an acquisition strategy, but has not fully developed or implemented it. The short-term plan developed in 2011 included acquiring 25,000 vehicles costing about $500 million to meet operational needs and replace some of the aging fleet. The long-term plan included purchasing the next generation of delivery vehicles beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2017. However, this plan lacked details, such as vehicle requirements, specifications, and green technology features. Despite
3 years of effort, neither plan has been approved or fully funded. In January 2014, the Postal Service received approval to purchase 3,509 vehicles to meet a contractual rural carrier vehicle commitment as a stop gap measure.
These conditions occurred due to financial constraints. Our analysis of the delivery vehicle inventory and motorized routes showed the Postal Service could
sustain delivery operations nationwide until FY 2017. On the other hand, it could experience vehicle shortfalls if there are unexpected decreases in vehicle inventory or increases in motorized routes. In addition, aging
vehicles are typically repaired when they break down, even though it would sometimes be more cost effective to
In designing new delivery vehicles, management must consider federal fleet regulations, emerging vehicle
technologies, and fleet best practices. For example, growth in the package market could help dictate the design and technologies selected for a new vehicle.
Moreover, replacing vehicles could take more than 10 years. Thus, the Postal Service should act quickly to implement a plan to meet operational needs, achieve sustainability goals, and reduce maintenance costs.