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Elderly, disabled East Texans worry about possible mailbox changes

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TYLER (KYTX) - Could door-to-door mail service soon come to an end?

The post office has already removed door-to-door mail delivery from some communities in Pennsylvania, and U.S. House of Representatives bill could allow that to happen across the country.

 

Essentially, instead of getting mail delivered to your home, you would have to pick it up from a mailbox cluster somewhere in your neighborhood, similar to apartment mailboxes.  

Though it does make it less convenient for homeowners, the postal service estimates this type of system could save about $4.5 billion a year. 

It costs $353 per stop for a delivery in most American cities, taking into account such things as salaries and cost of transport. By contrast, curbside mail box delivery costs $224, while cluster boxes cost $160, according to a report from the Postal Service's Office of Inspector General.

Still, the idea worries some people, like 86-year-old Shirley Henson from Tyler, whose her life revolves around convenience, because of her medical problems.

 

"I have osteoporosis and my leg, I have a plate in it," she says.

Right now, she gets mail delivered right to her door, so all she has to do is open her front door and step onto her porch. She says eliminating that service would make things very difficult for her.

"For one thing I don't drive," she says.

It's a concern shared by people across the country. The post office has already replaced door-to-door service with cluster mailboxes in new construction communities in Pennsylvania, and now it's looking towards the U.S. House, hoping a new bill will extend the trend to the rest of the country.

"I don't think it would really be a good solution for people that are older," Henson says.

Neither does Texas District 1 Representative Louie Gohmert, who says this is not the right way to solve the post office's debt problems.

"I think if we take other responsible steps that will not be necessary," Gohmert says.

Representative Gohmert also voices concern about who would maintain and sort these cluster mailboxes.

"This would change who's in charge of what and it remains to be seen how much money that would actually save," he says.

He tells CBS 19 he hopes for an efficient post office system, but unlike other republicans in the house, he doesn't think this is the right answer.

This could affect a lot of people. Right now, 35 million homes and businesses in America get mail delivered to their doorstep.

The bill in its current form would only eliminate door delivery in newly constructed areas, but Representative Gohmert says changes are still being proposed, so it's possible that it could eventually include all neighborhoods. 

To pass it would have to go to the house floor for a vote, and then the senate would have to take up the same bill to pass it. 

CBS 19 tried contacting the regional postal service manager in Dallas for comment, but our calls were not returned.

 

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