A TIMES reader has claimed that the last post is being sounded on acceptable Royal Mail services in parts of Portadown - with letters delivered this week as she sat down for her tea.
On Tuesday, the post was delivered in parts of Killicomaine at around 6pm, and while the reader understood that the Easter season may be partly to blame, the late deliveries have been the trend over the past few weeks.
“Lately, it has gone from late morning to early afternoon and now this,” she said. “A couple of weeks ago, the post arrived just before 4pm, with no obvious circumstances to hold it back, and lately the norm has been between 2 and 3pm.
“This poor service is hard enough to accept, but when you consider the cost of a first-class stamp is about to go up 30 per cent to 60p, it hard to take.”
The woman added she understood that postal services would never again be what they used to be - with before-breakfast first deliveries and second deliveries later in the day. “There are so many other methods of communication these days, with e.mails, texts, mobile phones and the like. But good service of any kind seems to be rare - it seems that profits and employing as few people as possible are the main driving force these days. But that doesn’t excuse a tea-time delivery in what used to be a service second to none. It certainly isn’t first class any more.”
A Royal Mail spokeswoman admitted that there had been a heavy volume of mail on Tuesday because of the Easter holidays.
She said , “Royal Mail’s current quality of service for customers in Northern Ireland is over 94 per cent, exceeding the 93 per cent target for next day delivery of First Class Mail. Our aim is to complete all town deliveries by 3pm and all residential deliveries by 4pm.
“There are occasions when mail might be delivered slightly later that the target delivery times due to very heavy volumes of mail. This was the case on Easter Tuesday when mail was considerably heavier than normal due to the preceding bank holiday weekend.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused our customers. We regret we cannot comment on the other instance of late delivery without more specific address information being provided, but we would be happy to look into this if the customer gets in touch with the delivery office directly.”