YOU’VE posted a card through the local box in Bishop Street - first class, too - to be sent to an address in Ardbeg. You expect it’ll arrive at its destination the following day, or perhaps the day after that at the latest - yes? Well, not any more.
Because islanders were disappointed in the least to discover that letters they were posting through the ‘local’ box in Bishop Street is no longer sorted on the island ahead of distribution, and instead is taken to the mainland, along with the rest of the island’s mail, before being returned for delivery.
For more years than most will remember, the ‘local’ box in Bishop Street allowed Bute residents to ‘fast-track’ mail meant for addresses on the island.
But now all mail posted on the Bute, even if being sent to an address on the island, is taken to the mainland for sorting first, regardless of how it is posted.
Jenny Chaplin, who has written a letter to The Buteman this week on the issue, told us: “The ‘local’ post box was not blocked on May 30, so, thinking I had been misinformed regarding its cessation, I mailed, for island delivery, three letters with first-class stamps.
“The next day, I then phoned the local sorting office to double-check, only to be told that the local post box no longer serves that purpose, and my locally-directed mail would thus be sent to the mainland – first-class or not!
“People to whom I’ve mentioned this thought I was talking through a hole in my head – nobody knew anything about the matter, so why were the general public not told about this major change?”
We asked Royal Mail to comment on the removal of the ‘local’ post box, and a spokeswoman said: “All collection mail from the Isle of Bute is treated in exactly the same way as mail posted to and from any other part of Scotland.
“Mail is collected and channelled through one of our four mail centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness, because of the logistics of mail collection, sorting and delivery.
“This is the fastest and most efficient method of processing mail and complies with our Universal Service Obligation. All mail is processed by automatic sorting machines which greatly enhance the speed and efficiency of the mail processing system.”