Royal Mail used to be an essential service, in the same way as electricity and water, but during this Covid crisis it has become more apparent that it is becoming more and more redundant. Whilst the likes of Amazon and Ocado can deliver all manner of goods within a day, the Royal Mail visits all postboxes, houses and business addresses 6 days a week regardless. The internet and emails have largely disrupted this business model; and soon with the advent of driverless cars and drones, it will become redundant.
Do we let it wither on the vine or reform and repurpose it to serve the community in a more relevant way?
For example, the UK has difficulty delivering an effective countrywide covid testing regime. The Royal Mail has the infrastructure to deliver tests to everyone’s doorstep every day and collect the sample the next.
Maybe the Royal Mail could be subsumed back into a state owned entity and become a sister operation to the NHS, delivering prescriptions, drugs and reports to patients. It could even become a taxi service to deliver those who can’t drive to hospitals in town centres. Generally speaking postmen and ladies are very kind and caring people and have far more respect in their community than any other arm of the state – why not use them as part of the social service?
The Royal Mail is dying; it is time to reform it and redesign it for the 21st century by thinking beyond a mail delivery service; use it’s ubiquitous infrastructure and knowledge to become and effective service again, as it was BI (Before the Internet).