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City buses, subways and trains deliver packages

City buses and trains contract with UPS, etc. to deliver packages
  [vote for,

Public transportation is in perpetual need of financing. As I recall, Amtrak has never made a profit. These buses, trains and subways have regular routes and destinations which could be modified to include package delivery and pickup hubs. I suggest the public transportation services contract with UPS, postal services, private bus lines like Greyhound, railroad companies and freight trucking companies to reduce the cost of package delivery for the customer and create income for public service transportation.
Sunstone, Jan 03 2011

Red Star http://en.wikipedia...ki/Red_Star_Parcels
Surprisingly expensive [8th of 7, Jan 03 2011]

Chicago Freight Subway http://en.wikipedia...l_Company#Operation
[EdwinBakery, Jan 05 2011]

Amtrak Shipping http://www.amtrak.c...t&cid=1241267371736
[EdwinBakery, Jan 05 2011]

US Postal Service wants to deliver groceries http://www.washingt...-deliver-groceries/
US Postal Service would work with retail partners to deliver groceries and other prepackaged goods to homes... [Sunstone, Sep 26 2014, last modified Dec 15 2015]

Amazon tries out taxi deliveries in California cities: http://www.cnbc.com/id/102156232
Amazon is testing deliveries via taxis in San Francisco and Los Angeles as the Internet retailer explores alternative modes of delivery to speed up shipments while restraining cost. Amazon is using the taxi-hailing mobile app, Flywheel, to ship parcels via licensed cabs, studying the feasibility of using taxi fleets more broadly as a delivery avenue. The e-commerce company, stung by shipping delays last Christmas blamed on services such as UPS and Fedex , has been exploring various options from regional couriers to its own delivery vehicles [Sunstone, Nov 05 2014]


       I would guess that either:   

       (a) this is already done or that   

       (b) UPS has its own carriers because they're cheaper or more dependable.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2011

       The public sector must operate at a loss, or else it begins to take on the attributes of the private sector.
rcarty, Jan 03 2011

       {marked-for-deletion], widely known to have existed and been found to be impractical, uneconomic, rude, inefficient and wasteful.   

8th of 7, Jan 03 2011

       What, UPS?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jan 03 2011

       Them too, but Red Star were worse.   


       We are aware that that previous statement may stratch credibility somewhat, but yes, Red Star were worse than UPS, by quite a large margin.   


       We are aware that "worse than UPS" is a first-order logical paradox resulting in a causality violation and implying the existance of a singularity without an event horizon which causes all mass to irreversibly disappear(known as "sending it by UPS") and therefore cannot exist for more than the Planck time without causing the end of this Universe. We wil get back to you on that one. Watch this space.   

       NB just because it's impossible doesn't mean it isn't true.
8th of 7, Jan 03 2011

       And also collecting mail by bus <link>.
8th of 7, Jan 04 2011

       This could serve a purpose...   

       Use feedback from the delivery companies about what's wrong with route, schedule, and service to improve passenger service. The reason UPS doesn't use public transport is that it isn't good enough.
sstvp, Jan 05 2011

       Already baked. Most interstate transportation carriers have an express shipping department that serves this purpose. If you have something that is large, heavy and you need same-day or next day shipping...and you need it for a reasonable price, you can put it on Amtrak, Greyhound, or a major airline.
Jscotty, Jan 08 2011

       "Already baked. Most interstate transportation carriers have an express shipping department that serves this purpose."   

       This idea is for profit losing government buses, trains and subways that are constantly chasing break even or even a little less, not for profit gaining private orgs like Greyhound, or a major airline. But then again some -- not me of course -- would say things like"The public sector must operate at a loss, or else it begins to take on the attributes of the private sector. — rcarty, Jan 03 2011 Or, The purpose of government orgs is to find a way to lose money as a means to necessitate tax increases in order for the government to hire more employees and increase employment to collect a brokerage fee for the re-distribution of those taxes. "Taxes create jobs." If you don't believe me look it up.
Sunstone, Aug 23 2013

       I would say rather that the purpose of the public sector is to do things that aren't profitable (and are therefore unlikely to be done by private enterprise), or are clearly better if not profitable, but are nonetheless desirable. For example, good management of national parks is almost by definition unprofitable, since it precludes most commercial uses of the land; an attempt to generate profit from national parks would not be for the greater good.   

       Public transport may be in the same category. If it is considered desirable to increase usage, It may be best to run it at a loss.
spidermother, Aug 24 2013

       Amtrak had major USPS contracts until 1966, and still carried some mail until 2002. It wasn't profitable.   

       The possibility of using local transit as the distribution network instead of larger trucks isn't completely invalid, but it runs into the same "last mile" issue that current delivery services have in any but the densest cities.
MechE, Sep 26 2014

       ^ Actually I think using local transit would be a complete loss. You couldn't do it during rush-hour because there's no room, and during off-peak, the buses would be forced to stop at every stop, delaying passengers.
FlyingToaster, Sep 26 2014

       //You couldn't do it during rush-hour because there's no room//   

       Maybe for buses, but mail doesn't need to get off at a platform. Simply tack on an extra car that unloads to a new niche in the tunnel just in front of or behind the platform.   

       Obviously the design of a rapid mail exchange system is a requirement, but it's not completely impractical.
MechE, Sep 26 2014

       Didn't we do something here once about sending packages via whoever might be going in that general direction? Delivery time frames and package security were issues.
normzone, Sep 26 2014

       Well, that's it, innit: sure you could tack on an extra car (or trailer), and you could have a dedicated mailman at each station and on each train. Costs just exceeded any benefit.   

       You could run a mail-only train first thing in the morning, before passenger service starts up. At which point you have to consider if (for a subway system) you want to glom the mail function onto the trains, or simply be using the same tracks.
FlyingToaster, Sep 26 2014

       //and you could have a dedicated mailman at each station and on each train//   

       Or you could have a small automated forklift system that lifts off the incoming mail and replaces it with the outgoing, with one of the major subway hubs also serving as a sorting station.
MechE, Sep 26 2014

       Or you could have pieces of mail individually equipped with reusable motorized roller-skates, zipping to and fro: just type in the "to" address on the roller-skate.   

       You could also use the subway lines as the main trunks for water, electricity, recycling, garbage, food distribution, etc.   

       Semantics: perhaps I'd be happy with "build a massive system of interconnected rail-lines, and use it for things such as transit, mail delivery, etc.
FlyingToaster, Sep 26 2014

       My main point is that automated mail handling systems exist, and tacking them onto a transit system wouldn't be that difficult. The real question comes down to if there is anywhere that has a sufficiently dense transit network that it makes sense to do so.   

       Other than NYC, if you can include busses, I can't think of anywhere that does.
MechE, Sep 27 2014

       Buses, during off-peak hours, normally don't stop at every stop... of course you could just keep the letter on the bus, or at the stop, until the bus finally did stop there. Otherwise you'd be extending all the passengers' trip time by actually stopping at every stop, also requiring extra buses to fit the schedule.
FlyingToaster, Sep 27 2014

       Private industry partnering with public is like dogs partnering with turtles to catch the fox.   

       Silicon Valley boasts the most awesome public transit system on Earth if you measure awesomeness by empty seats on multi million dollar street cars and busses. Once upon a time, here in Palo Alto, somebody even did the math and found out it was more cost effective to have busses drive to people's houses and pick them up limo style than to just drive around empty. Now of course by more cost effective I don't mean "cost effective" just slightly more so. It got cancelled when people realized it glaringly showed how wildly expensive and useless this particular transit system was.   

       Like I've said before, heaven for a big government type is looking down from their private jet at a long line of "prolls" cueing up to get on wildly expensive, incredibly inconvenient public transportation.
doctorremulac3, Sep 27 2014

       And there are also wildly successful public transportation systems. The major difference is usually which private contractor was used to do the planning and system layout work.
MechE, Sep 27 2014

       //And there are also wildly successful public transportation systems.//   

       Ours ain't one of them.
doctorremulac3, Sep 28 2014


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