27-08-2020

In view of the increasingly pressing environmental problems, the postal sector must also pay special attention to ecology. During its seminar held at Château d'Oex on August 26 and 27, the Federal Postal Commission examined, under the direction of its president Géraldine Savary, under which conditions postal services could be provided in a more ecological and yet economical way. The State Councilor responsible for the economy, Philippe Leuba, presented the challenges that his canton is facing regarding postal services.

At its regular meeting, PostCom dealt with several cases and issued recommendations concerning six post offices. It refused the solution proposed by Swiss Post to replace the Friborg 2 Bourg post office and, in two other cases, it attached significant reservations to its recommendation. Swiss Post can transform three post offices as it proposes.
 
More and more products are ordered online, with the corollary of a continuous increase in delivery traffic in urban districts and towns, but also in outlying regions. New strategies involving smart and ecological logistics are needed to cope with this increase in volumes. PostCom took advantage of its seminar to discuss these issues and other possible regulations with representatives of the Post, private providers, cities and experts. Both cities and companies have already considered or implementing different concepts and projects. In addition, PostCom has included the sustainable development of the postal market and environmental issues as two of the key objectives of its new strategy.
 
Quality access to universal service is crucial for the canton of Vaud

 The fourth largest canton in Switzerland in terms of surface area, Vaud has specific requirements regarding postal service. State Councilor Philippe Leuba explained the different aspects and needs. The Lausanne agglomeration as a center and the many regions, very different and sometimes located on the outskirts, require Swiss Post to carry out forward planning for the basic service, offering quality access to its services to all. 
 
Access to agencies that take into account the needs of people with disabilities

The session was largely devoted to the recommendations issued by PostCom in connection with the transformation of post offices. PostCom rejected the solution proposed by Swiss Post to transform the post office of Friborg 2 Bourg into a post office with a counter. The proposed agency partner is a grocery store. However, the designated post office is not accessible to people with reduced mobility, as there is a small staircase of two steps to be crossed and the front door must be opened manually. People relying on a wheelchair or a walker would not have access to the planned post office. The photos in the post office file also show that there is probably no room for a ramp.

The Friborg 2 Bourg post office is located in the old town of Friborg, where there are many shops which should be more easily accessible. Swiss Post has refrained from looking for an agency that better meets the requirements of art. 14, al. 7, let. a, LPO as the designated agency partner.
For this reason, PostCom issued a negative recommendation. Postal services must be provided in such a way that they can be used by disabled people under qualitatively, quantitatively and economically comparable conditions to those offered to non-disabled people (art. 14, para. 7, LPO). Access points must in particular be adapted to the needs of people with sensory or motor disabilities (art. 14, para. 7, letter a, LPO).
 
Substantive debate on the interpretation of the density criterion

 The Canobbio TI post office must also be transformed into a post office with a counter. The agency partner is a pharmacy opposite the current post office. The Canobbio executive argued that if the Canobbio post office was turned into an agency, there would only be agencies and no post offices in Collina Nord, which has around 15,000 inhabitants (including the municipalities of Porza , Vezia, Origlio, Comano, Savosa, Cureglia, Canobbio and Ponte Capriasca).

PostCom has taken the opportunity of this transformation to examine substantive questions concerning the new density criterion for urban areas and agglomerations as well as its own competence. It therefore asks Swiss Post to review its practice, taking into account in particular the density criteria in urban agglomerations, the topography, the size of the region concerned and the number of motorized journeys as well as its consequences on the environment. . However, PostCom came to the conclusion that it had to issue a favorable recommendation, because the law gives Swiss Post a wide margin of appreciation in this area.
 
Fontenais: Swiss Post must also offer home service on Saturdays

 Swiss Post cannot find an agency partner for the Fontenais post office in the canton of Jura and therefore wishes to introduce a home service. Advised items must be picked up at the Porrentruy 1 post office. Public transport links to Porrentruy are good, except on Saturdays. To collect an informed shipment on Saturday, residents of Fontenais who travel by public transport should allow around two hours. It does not seem acceptable to working people. This is why PostCom only issues a recommendation in favor of converting the Fontenais post office into a home service if the Post offers at least one solution for the collection of items with notice. withdrawal. The installation of a PickPost point or a My Post 24 machine would be possible. However, it is also possible that Swiss Post also provides for a second free delivery on Saturdays for items with notice of withdrawal or that it provides the home service from Monday to Saturday and not from Monday to Friday.

In small towns for which the Post office cannot find an agency partner, it is often only the municipal administration that is able to manage the postal agency. Unlike retail businesses, municipal governments do not derive any financial benefit from an increase in the number of customers generated by the operation of a postal agency. PostCom therefore recommends that Swiss Post examine whether, in cases where, as in Fontenais, a postal agency can only be set up in the municipal administration, it is necessary to increase the latter's compensation to enable it to cover the operation of the agency.

PostCom has issued favorable recommendations for the planned transformation of three other post offices, in Orselina TI, Stalden VS and Vernayaz VS, into post offices with outlets installed in shops. In these cases, the decision of Swiss Post complies with legal provisions and makes it possible to continue guaranteeing a quality universal postal service in the region concerned.

Source: PostCom