Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Going ‘postal’ about delivery vehicles

Topics for speeches are around in your neighborhood.  I was used to seeing the U.S. Postal Service bring mail and packages in compact right-hand-drive delivery trucks -  venerable Grumman LLVs (long life vehicles), as shown above. Before Christmas I happened to look out a front window to instead see them deliver a package to my door from a tiny Subaru Sambar microvan. What had changed? The LLV is a relatively old design, but the USPS still has about 100,000 of them. They have been looking at replacing the whole fleet, but still have not decided what should come next.

Canada Post also uses the LLV, but in 2010 they decided to replace it with the Ford Transit Connect (front views of both are shown above). The Transit Connect is a compact cargo van designed by Ford in Europe. It is built in Turkey and Spain, and was cleverly imported to the U.S. as a passenger vehicle. An article in the Chicago Tribune on July 9, 2018 described Ford’s creative efforts to avoid $250 million in ‘chicken tax’ tariffs under scrutiny.

What about the big brown package delivery competition? United Parcel Service (UPS) has a whole series of delivery trucks (known in their jargon as package cars) specially built for them. Two car types are shown above. Some package cars have translucent white fiberglass roofs, so their interior cargo area is illuminated by sunlight. An article by Mack Hogan at Jalopnik on July 6, 2018 discussed how I don’t care how rich you are, you can’t buy a UPS truck.

Images of an LLV, LLV and Transit Connect, and UPS package cars all came from Wikimedia Commons.

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