There's a new way to deliver the mail at the University of Washington.
UW Mailing Services has recently rolled out a pair of bicycles to use in moving mail around campus. Mailing Services Manager Steven Roberts said the bikes will help most with small or express jobs which come in after the usual daily routes are finished. In the past, these tasks would have required a driver to use a truck. Even though the Mailing Services fleet is all hybrid-electric vehicles, using a truck still means using some gas.
"The ultimate goal is to use the trucks as sparingly as possible, and shift things like express mail and small amounts of mail to these," Roberts said.
Mailing Services started using two bikes this month for some deliveries. The idea for the bikes was championed by driver Tim Fox, who said he can often move around campus faster on bike than in a mail truck, since trucks have to deal with pedestrian campus and parking restrictions. Mailing Services has a contract with nearby Recycled Cycles for any maintenance needs.
"We're really about helping out the local business as well," Fox said.
In initial surveys, more than 90 percent of Mailing Services drivers said they would use a bike for some deliveries. Roberts believes Mailing Services will eventually use far more than the two initial bikes.
"We're hoping to grow," Roberts said. "The idea is to grow the usage more and more, and then increase the number of bicycles we have, and then roll out additional applications for bicycles."