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Posted: Dec 16 2016 at 9:34pm By Administrator
UPS Access Point Lockers To Begin Operations In Co-op City This Week
With by far the busiest package delivery week of the year at hand, United Parcel Service (UPS), perhaps by as early as Monday, 12/19/16, will begin using three access point locker facilities in Co-op City, one in each community center.
Access Point Lockers are a service recently made available by UPS in select communities whereby drivers who fail to deliver a package to a home on the first try now have the option of placing that package in a secure locker and notifying the resident of its location with specific instructions about how they, and only they, can retrieve the package from the locker unit.
The locker units, which contain several lockers of various sizes all under 24-hour surveillance by the private parcel delivery service, were installed in the Coop City community centers beginning on Thursday, 12/15/16, with Dreiser Center, today, 12/16/16 at Einstein Center and Bartow Center expected to be addressed over the weekend. All three new units are in central exterior locations in each center and each has been placed under an overhang to protect the units and their users from the rain, said Riverbay's Commercial Leasing Department Director Kim Umstead.
In order for a driver to make the determination to leave a package in an Access Point Locker, a UPS representative explained that the locker must be less than a half of a mile from the home of the customer who missed the delivery. In the case of Co-op City, every home is within a half mile of a community center.
Awosanya Olufemi, who has been the point person for UPS in arranging for the locker units to be placed in Co-op City and setting them up, explained that a driver failing at an attempt to make a first delivery of a package will leave a UPS info notice at the home notifying the resident of the missed delivery and how to retrieve the package from the nearby locker. The resident can then go to the locker unit and scan the bar-code on the notice on the unit bar-code scanner on the top right hand corner of the unit.
The person retrieving the package can also enter the tracking number using the touch screen in the center of the unit. To ensure that the intended recipient is the one retrieving the package, a government ID belonging to that person must also be scanned by the unit in order for the locker to be opened.
UPS customers with cell or iPhones can also use their phones to release the package by entering their registered cell number. A PIN will be sent to the phone which will then release the package when the number is entered and a matching signature is entered into the unit's touch screen.
Each unit also provides around the clock customer service easily activated at each unit or by calling a UPS customer service helpline number 1-866-790-8450. Sonja Maxwell, Coop City long time president of Cooperators United, said this week that she has major concerns with the plan as it's being presented.
Some of those concerns are specifically about elderly or disabled residents or others who cannot easily access a locker in a central location or who might have high priority items being sent to them, such as prescription medications, which can result in a medical emergency if delivery is delayed by placement in a secondary location, such as a locker. Ms. Maxwell also expressed concern about the security of the units and the safety of residents retrieving packages from the lockers, particularly at times when the community centers are typically desolate such as overnight hours.
Matthew O'Connor, a Public Relations Manager for UPS's corporate headquarters, explained that drivers are trained to recognize any suspicious behavior as they use the access point lockers and also the locker units are under constant, instantly retrievable video surveillance.
Mr. O'Connor and the New York based Mr. Olufemi both stressed that having packages placed in a locker and retrieved by the customer is an option strictly up to the customer. Customers who missed the first delivery attempt can also request that the driver return and retrieve the package from the locker for a second or third delivery attempt. Mr. O'Connor recommended that UPS customers, especially those receiving regular high priority deliveries such as prescription medicine, go to the UPS website ups.com and sign up for the free My Choice program which provides UPS customers regular updates sent to a home computer or mobile phone on the status of each package and when exactly delivery can be expected so the customer can make sure they are home or they can designate where they would like the package delivered to if they can't be home to accept delivery - either with a neighbor, relative, in a locker or to another access point location in the area.
The UPS spokesman explained that the Access Point Locker program only began in June 2016 nationwide and is being rolled out in segments. He said the lockers are an off-shoot of the Access Point Location program which used local businesses as nearby drop off points for missed deliveries. Mr. O'Connor explained that one of the problems with using local businesses particularly in high density communities, such as Co-op City is that these businesses often get overwhelmed with the volume of packages. He said that a community such as Coop City fits well with the locker program because all the homes are no more than just a few blocks or less from the locker units. "In other areas where we have introduced this," Mr. O'Connor said, "once people try it, they like it."
He added that the locker units are of different sizes and modular so the vast majority of packages delivered by UPS can fit into them.
Mr. Olufemi said that the lockers are a much better alternative to traveling over to the UPS facility near the Whitestone Bridge to pickup their packages. He added that Co-op City will be one of the first communities in New York City to have the new locker units and the first high rise community in the entire city.
He said that the idea to bring the locker units to Coop City grew out of a request from Riverbay management to UPS for the parcel delivery service to try to do something to improve the system currently in place in the community after hearing frequent complaints from Coop City residents.
Assistant General Manager Warren Mitchell gave a brief overview of the proposal to residents attending an open board meeting in September 2016, but at that time, many of the details were not ironed out yet.
Riverbay will receive a licensing fee of $250 per month per unit for the placement of the units in the shopping centers. UPS has full responsibility for the maintenance of the units and all necessary repairs over time.
Mr. Mitchell acknowledged that the licensing fees do not add up to much money for the community, but the hope is that aside from improving the parcel delivery service system in the community, the placement of the locker systems in the shopping centers will increase foot traffic to the centers, benefiting local merchants.
By Bill Stuttig
Co-op City Times is now online