Faced with the drop in the volume of letters, from 18 billion letters in 2008 to 9 billion in 2018, the Court of Auditors made a series of recommendations to La Poste.
Do you remember the last time you posted a letter or postcard? It is a fact that continues to be confirmed: the French send less and less mail, to the benefit of new technologies.
The volume of mail in France has thus increased from 18 billion letters in 2008 to just over 9 billion in 2018, analyzes the Court of Auditors in its annual report published Tuesday 25th February, 2020. This figure could even go down, “if the trend continues ”, to 5 billion in 2025.
No further increase in stamp prices
In 2018, for the first time, the universal postal service account was even in deficit (365 million euros in full costs), according to the report.
In this context, the financial jurisdiction welcomes the “significant transformations” undertaken by La Poste to modernize since 2016, but points to the importance of carrying out “larger-scale reforms” to lower distribution costs.
The wise men of Cambon Street advise the company to increase the rates again for customers, especially the stamp prices which have experienced successive increases in recent years. Thus, the red stamp (priority letter, J + 1) increased from 0.54 euros in 2006 to 1.16 euros in the 1 st January 2020 , the green stamp (J + 2) from 0.58 euros in 2012 0.97 euros in 2020, and that of the gray stamp (ecopli rate, D + 4) from 0.49 euros in 2006 to 0.95 €.
The densest mailbox network in Europe
Among the avenues suggested by the Court of Auditors to take account of the drop in the number of letters, that of adapting the number of street letter boxes, the famous yellow mailboxes. The number of these boxes is already decreasing, but less than that of the mailings sent.
The Post specifies :
“There are approximately 123,000 street mailboxes to date, to which are added 17,000 contact points (post offices, etc.) for sending mail, for a total of approximately 130,000. On average in France, there is a box or contact point for 171 residential addresses.”
France even has the most extensive street mailboxes in Europe. In rural areas, there is an average of one box per 200 inhabitants, still according to the Court of Auditors, some being quite close together. And in urban areas, we sometimes see “up to three boxes within a radius of 300 meters. ”
In consultation with the municipalities
In his response to the institution, the CEO of La Poste Philippe Wahl agreed that an adaptation of the letterbox fleet is necessary. “It should be carried out taking into account the real needs of shipper customers and in consultation with local authorities. ”
The services of the public enterprise add that the park “adapts to demographic movements and lifestyles of the French”.
“We adjust the number of boxes to the traffic deposited and also take into account the ease of access to safely collect the boxes. When the boxes are on the public highway, the establishment is done in consultation with the town hall.”
Facilitate the postman’s work
Furthermore, the Court considers that letter carriers should have easier access to private mailboxes. Their location sometimes requires them to make a significant journey, particularly in rural areas, which represents an estimated additional cost of 37.8 million euros per year.
As for the factors, La Poste already requires a lot more versatility from them, as the document notes, in the face of the deployment of new local services by the Post, such as “Watch over my parents”, a service to facilitate the maintenance of home of the elderly; “Recygo”, organizing the collection of office waste, etc.
It should be noted that if the number of mail items posted is in free fall, the Chronopost parcel market, partly managed by La Poste, is in great shape: their number delivered by letter carriers increased from 270,000 in 2014 to just over 16 million in 2018.