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Phuket Opinion: Housing boom making snail mail slower

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Boonsong Maneechai, 52, from Nakhon Sri Thammarat, served as Postmaster of the Thaweewong Post Office in Patong for four years before becoming the Postmaster of the Rawai Office in 2009. Here, he talks about why the residents of Rawai and Chalong have been experiencing mail delivery delays, and outlines the steps he is taking to correct the problem.

PHUKET: The number of housing estates, condominiums, resorts and hotels in Rawai and Chalong has grown dramatically recently and we are now responsible for about 35,000 addresses. The rapid development of the area has created a lot of challenges for us and has slowed down delivery times.

In big housing estates such as Phuket Villa or Patak Villa, there are so many houses that it takes a long time to deliver the mail. In some condominiums, postmen have to go upstairs to distribute the mail to each condo in the building.

Another problem is numbering. Some house numbers are not in order – a house that should be located next to another house is on the other side of the road instead, and some houses don’t have numbers at all. Both of these cases lead to confusion and slow the delivery process.

Many foreigners and Thais in the area are well-off, so stores and malls target them and send brochures to promote their goods. The volume of this type of [junk] mail keeps growing.

There is a geographic problem, too – some neighborhoods in Chalong and Rawai are on hills, and it takes the postman a long time to travel there.

One of our postmen devised a solution. A few months ago, he talked to the owner of the Chalong Center Condominium and asked him if he (the owner) could provide a mailbox for all the condos at the entrance of the building so that he would not have to go upstairs to deliver the mail.

The condo owner was very helpful, and agreed. Now the postman can quickly deliver the mail to the residents there. This solution also helps protect the mail, because the postman no longer has to leave his motorcycle unattended before going upstairs.

If other places set up similar systems, residents would get their mail faster.

The other big problem is that we have only 13 postmen. For the past two months we’ve worked on Sundays to deliver mail that we couldn’t deliver during the week.

When we announce a vacancy, only a few people are interested and most of them quit after a few days.

It is quite hard work and we can’t offer them government benefits until they’ve worked here for three years and passed a test.

A postman who is not a permanent officer receives 350-400 baht per day, a budget for three liters of gas, and 20 baht per day for motorcycle maintenance, since they have to use their own motorbike.

I have asked the Regional Postal Bureau (Region 8) to raise the daily wage and to allow new staff to take the test to be permanent staff after just one year.

If they approve this, I am sure more people will be interested in working with us.

We’ve already seen one improvement – the Regional Postal Bureau has increased our budget so we can hire more staff. We hired two new postmen in January and we are going to get four more soon. I hope this will help us do our job better.

Anyone who has delayed or missing mail, please come to see me at the Rawai Post office or call 076-381393.

 

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