Broken mail trucks cost the Postal Service millions
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Updated 9:36 a.m. ET
The wheels are literally falling off at the Postal Service and it's getting more expensive to fix them, according to a new report by the agency's auditors.
Most of the Postal Service's iconic right-hand drive delivery trucks (known as long-life vehicles or LLVs) are nearing the end of a 24-year life cycle. The Postal Service estimates it would cost about $4.2 billion -- or $30,000 per truck -- to replace the fleet. The big price tag and plummeting revenues forced the mail agency to delay purchasing new vehicles until 2018.
An audit report released Wednesday (see below) found that it cost about $524 million to fix LLVs in fiscal year 2009. Some trucks required $43,000 in maintenance even though Postal Service policy says individual repairs should cost about $3,500. Another 19,000 trucks each required an average of $5,600 in repairs, the report said. At that rate, repairs in the next eight years will cost $342 million more than it would to buy new trucks, auditors said.
Investigators did however credit the mail agency's preventive maintenance program for repairing broken vehicles instead of replacing them, arguing the strategy is robust and cost effective.
Postal officials said they plan to start replacing broken trucks more frequently during the next fiscal year and will remind maintenance staff and district managers to keep costs under control.
Considering the big costs of replacing the unique fleet, should the Postal Service trade in for a new type of truck? Or is the longevity and reliability of the current fleet worth keeping?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below
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AUDIT OF POSTAL SERVICE MAIL TRUCKS:
| June 17, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
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