President Trump has faced backlash over recent measures the U.S. Postal Service has taken to reduce service as November’s election approaches, including removing mail collection boxes from street locations. But eliminating mailboxes is nothing new and something that took place quite a bit during the Obama administration.
A pair of USPS inspector general reports provide details regarding the removal of thousands of mailboxes in the U.S., and during Obama’s second term people complained that too many mailboxes were taken away.
“Nationally the number of collection boxes declined by more than 12,000 in the past five years,” an August 2016 report said. “Some customers have complained the Postal Service has gone too far and removed most collection boxes, except those at the Post Office. In addition, they have questioned whether any cost savings result from collection box removals.”
The same report revealed that in a 17-month period during Obama’s second term, hundreds of mailboxes were removed without following the appropriate process, as “322 out-of-service boxes were permanently removed from the street without Eastern Area approval or public notification to customers.”
At the same time, that report and another from September 2017 show that there are good reasons for eliminating mailboxes, such as underuse, and that even more mailboxes should have been removed over the years, which would have saved the government hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The five-year total of 12,000 removed mailboxes jumped to 14,000 in the 2017 report.