Royal Mail has vowed to avoid the Christmas chaos experienced across Chorley and Leyland last year.
People were still receiving Christmas cards in January after a huge backlog meant post workers couldn’t cope with the demand, and some queued for more than an hour at the delivery offices for parcels.
Now, in a bid to avoid further criticism and chaos, Royal Mail is employing 1,760 extra seasonal workers in the region, and deploying an additional 239 vehicles.
Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “People were very angry and frustrated last year, and there was a lot of complaints about the queues at Chorley’s delivery office.
“Pensioners and mums with young children were having to stand for hours outside in the cold, and it was totally unacceptable.
“I’d like Royal Mail to look at improving the waiting areas at Chorley’s delivery office in Chorley East Business Centre, because so many customers were left outside in the snow last December.”
He added: “I am pleased Royal Mail is employing more staff and I really do welcome that. I just hope it ensures we don’t have the same issues this year.”
The problem was just as bad in Leyland, where a cancer patient missed a hospital appointment because his notification didn’t get through in time, and workers had to put in extra hours to get back on schedule in the New Year.
There were also huge queues at the Braconash Road delivery office.
Steve Leach, Royal Mail Regional Operations Director for the North West, said: “This is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail.
“Our postmen and women, as well as the extra seasonal staff we have taken on, will be working to collect, sort and deliver the Christmas mailbag to every community.
“As we do every year, we encourage people to post early and order presents early to help us spread the workload of handling around two billion items in the run up to Christmas.”
In the ‘PR’ postcode area, Royal Mail normally deals with 10.3 million items in a four-week period, but Christmas mail is expected to reach 12.4 million in the run up to December 25.
This year, around 13,400 Royal Mail postal staff will be supported by the extra workers, and the 239 new vehicles will be in addition to the normal 2,900-strong transport fleet in the region.
Tips to avoid postal chaos this year -
- Post early. To help Royal Mail spread the workload, post early and order presents early. The last posting dates this Christmas are: December 17 for 2nd Class mail; December 20 for 1st Class mail; and December 22 for Special Delivery.
- Use a postcode. A clearly addressed card or parcel, with a postcode, helps Royal Mail sort the item more efficiently.
- Use Special Delivery. For valuable packages and parcels guarantee delivery, Royal Mail’s Special Delivery service is recommended. This means your gift is tracked, traced and insured against loss.
- Parcelforce Worldwide’s Express services. These offer fast international delivery across the world from next working day, and the Scheduled service takes from three working days.