Festive cheer for the postal service

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ALL hail the mail! The Star put the festive post to the test – and Royal Mail passed with flying colours.

We sent cards to 26 different addresses on the last posting dates before Christmas – and all bar one of the 52 cards arrived before the big day.

We posted the cards in Jessica Ennis’ golden postbox in Barker’s Pool on Tuesday, December 18, the last second-class posting day before Christmas, and repeated the experiment on Thursday, December 20, the last first-class posting day.

We posted 10 cards to addresses across Sheffield, five across the wider region and another 10 across England – as well as one to Northern Ireland.

All the second-class cards, and all bar one of the first-class cards, arrived before Christmas.

Royal Mail’s quality of service percentages show first-class items are due to arrive one day after posting with a 93 per cent probability, while 98.5 per cent of second-class items are due to arrive three days after posting.

However, Consumer Focus, which monitors Royal Mail, said these targets do not apply at Christmas ‘due to the massive volume of mail in this period’.

Valerie Antoine, for Royal Mail, said: “We are pleased these results reflect the hard work and extra effort our postmen and women make to deliver mail to our customers in the run-up to Christmas, which is traditionally a busy time for Royal Mail.

“The most recent cumulative quality of service figures for the first two quarters of 2012 in the Sheffield postcode area showed 
93 per cent of first-class mail delivered on time, the day after posting.”

However, the results came as a ‘surprise’ to Winnie Smith, of Arbourthorne Tenants’ and Residents’ Association.

She said: “Three cards I posted to people in Sheffield still haven’t arrived – when one I posted to Plymouth got there the next day.

“It’s a bit of a problem and Royal Mail needs to improve the service.”