Residents asked to help find out how fast mail reaches V.I.

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ST. THOMAS - The U.S. Post Office is taking an interest in how quickly snail mail is getting to its customers in the U.S. Virgin Islands and across the nation.

Residents may have received letters asking for the recipient to help contribute to a mail measurement study that will be conducted in post offices around the United States.

Local post office officials did not know how many letters were going out to Virgin Islanders, but they said that the survey is to help the federal office get an idea of how efficiently its offices are being run.

"Normally, the only feedback we get is bad feedback. It's human nature," said Postmaster Silva Gibbs, who oversees all of the offices on St. Thomas.

The goal of the survey is to more accurately portray which offices are getting the mail to their customers in a timely manner.

The "reporters," or the people who participate in the survey, will be expected to collect their mail every day, as they will be receiving three to six pieces of test mail each week.

Reporters will be expected to report the delivery of the mail via a toll-free phone number or via a website,

Reporters are asked to participate for a minimum of six months and to report any vacations to the company running the survey, IBM.

In return, the participants will receive postage stamps monthly, according to a letter from the U.S. Post Office Vice President of Product Information James Cochrane.

"The U.S. Postal Service aims to provide prompt, reliable and efficient services in all areas and communities," Cochrane wrote.

The panel of reporters throughout the states will remain confidential.

Gibbs said that the post office is not informed when surveys are taking place, and the offices strive to get mail out the same day that it is received.

For more information about the study, call 1-800-770-2974.

- Contact Jenny Kane at 714-9102 or email

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