In an effort aimed at improving delivery and reducing dependence on rail transport, the department of posts has started operating mail vans to places across the State.
Starting on a pilot basis, the department is now operating mail vans between Chennai and Madurai via Tiruchi, and between Chennai and Coimbatore via Salem. At present, nearly 75,000 mails and parcels, on an average, are processed and transported through trains every day.
The department expects to save a minimum of two or three hours by operating the mail vans, and reduce the cost of transportation through the rail network by 50 per cent. “We plan to speed up delivery within the same postal region to the same day,” said Mervin Alexander, postmaster general (Chennai city region).
Officials of the postal department noted that operation of mail vans would also reduce congestion at railway stations. “Instead of transporting mail to railway stations and waiting to load them according to train schedules, we may save a few hours by operating mail vans directly to the post offices in other places,” an official said.
Subhash C. Barmma, postmaster general (mails and marketing), said, “We are exploring more routes including Madurai to Coimbatore and Chennai to Puducherry and Villupuram. We also plan to tap the e-commerce market by transporting mails through the road network.”
Earlier, dedicated rail coaches were used to transport mails. Now, mail bags are loaded on unreserved passenger coaches, thereby posing inconvenience to commuters and sometimes resulting in damage to goods.
Officials, recalling instances of mails falling onto railway tracks, said delivery through the road network would ensure safer delivery, and reduce damage to mail bags, which, at present, are pilfered at the rate of one or two per cent. More mail vans will be operated depending on the success of the pilot project, officials said.