The Government has issued a response to a Downing Street-submitted petition to keep the trusty Pashley Postal bike in service.
In March, BikeBiz reported on the Royal Mail's plans to scrap the vast majority of bikes used for deliveries, with the postal service then citing 'safety concerns' as its primary reason for scrapping two wheels.
Royal Mail chief exec, Adam Crozier then said: "“We expect to see a reduction in the number of delivery accidents as a result of our rollout of the new delivery technology, as a substantial proportion of accidents are currently liked to the use of bicycles on busy road networks.”
The Downing Street response however centres round delivery efficiency, stating bicycles are less capable of delivering large volumes without numerous collections from distribution centres.
The Government response reads:
Since Royal Mail’s transfer to a plc company the Government has adopted an arms length relationship as shareholder, leaving the management directly responsible for operational matters, such as methods used for mail delivery.
As the level of packets and parcels in delivery rounds increases, due to growth in goods ordered online, the daily mail bag may not in many cases be suitable for carriage on bicycles. Given also that the global letters market is declining (in the UK, it fell by 7.3% in 2009/10 and is expected to continue to fall) and in light of the very real challenges facing the business, it is vital that the company continually looks at ways to deliver the mail as efficiently and effectively as possible. By necessity this will mean a reduction in the number of bicycles used and their replacement by trolley or van will depend on the physical characteristics of the round (e.g. topography or demographics).
Royal Mail already uses in excess of 10,000 trolleys on its rounds and recently announced an investment of £120 million in its fleet and technology, which includes adding another 14,000 trolleys, plus 2,400 electric powered trolleys. These better handle the type and size of mail that people now send. The company’s aim has to be to help its postmen and women safely take everything on their rounds and take the weight off their backs, as well as allowing them to complete the round without needing to return to the delivery office to pick up extra mail.
Royal Mail aspires to be the lowest carbon postal operator in Europe and always considers the environmental impact of any operational changes it plans to make before reaching a final decision. They have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by more than 12% since 2004-05 (transport related emissions have reduced by 9.8%) and are wholly committed to achieving even more stretching reductions in years to come. They will work with the Department for Transport over the next 5 years to further develop low carbon vehicle options. The Royal Mail Group achieved a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions of 26,797.1 tonnes in 2008/09.
The company has confirmed that for more than a decade now it has donated delivery bicycles it no longer needed to Re-Cycle.