Thursday, May 21, 2009

Twice as many sailings, but still the mail only comes three times a week

"What I can tell you is yes, we are always looking for ways to improve our delivery service,"-- Canada Post Public Relations spokesperson Lillian Au, outlining the thoughts of Canada Post when it comes to the corporations dedication to customer service, a sentiment not quite shared by those on Haida Gwaii.
Canada Post continues to test the patience of the residents of Haida Gwaii, as they continue to hold their policy of delivering the mail only three times during the course of a week.

Originally it was thought that the new policy, would last only as long as BC Ferries was running short of vessels for the Prince Rupert - Queen Charlottes run. Mail delivery became wholly dependant on ferry sailings when the Post Office began to discontinue shipments of mail by air las summer when the Canada Post ended its contract with Air Canada.

With the arrival of the Northern Expedition on the North coast and the commencement of six sailings a week through the Northern Adventure, many on the Charlottes felt that at least the mail would be getting through on a little more reliable schedule.

But in the latest announcement from Canada Post, the mail service seems to be not in the loop when it comes to the services of the Ferry Corporation. Canada Post has advised the residents of the Islands, that the increased ferry schedule does not include any "commercial traffic", which is news to the Ferry Corporation.

Perhaps they might wish to bring the folks at Canada Post up to speed on the service they provide and how it might meet the needs of the Post Office, though we don't recommend mailing the letter from the Skidegate Post Office, it might take a little while to get to its destination.

The Queen Charlotte Islands Observer has provided details on the customer service setbacks to the residents of the Charlottes.

More ferries, same poor mail service
The Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

There will be double the number of ferry sailings this summer - but our mail service will remain just as slow as ever.While BC Ferries ramps up to six sailings a week for the busy summer season, the mail will continue to arrive and leave only three times a week, says Canada Post spokesperson Lillian Au.

Ms Au said the additional sailings do not carry commercial traffic and therefore it is not possible for the mail to go on them."What I can tell you is yes, we are always looking for ways to improve our delivery service," she said, before launching into an explanation of why there will be no improvement in service to the islands.

"Unfortunately, the extra sailings are not commercial sailings... We cannot put the mail on these sailings."

In any case, Canada Post can meet its delivery standards with the three times a week service, she said. Also, Canada Post has not changed its number of weekly mail shipments in past summers, despite the increased ferry service, she said.

The difference this summer, of course, is that Canada Post stopped bringing mail on and off the islands by air in September when it stopped using Air Canada across the country. Other parts of the country are now receiving air service with new contractors, but not the islands.

Ms Au repeated that there will be no change in service this summer, despite the additional sailings, because "it's always been the case" that these sailings can't take commercial freight.

However, BC Ferries spokesperson Deborah Marshall said there is absolutely no restriction on commercial traffic or freight on any sailing."We're happy to take any and all commercial traffic," she said.

Queen Charlotte mayor Carol Kulesha said this latest news is simply more of the same attitude from Canada Post. The slow mail service has been a tremendous hardship for local businesses and individuals and they deserve better, she said.

To that end, she is planning to distribute a petition island-wide which will be sent on to Ottawa once enough signatures have been collected."
We need everyone's help," she said. "This is not something we can live with."

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