THE once familiar sight of posties on bikes is set to become a thing of the past after Royal Mail bosses announced changes in the postal service.
The red bikes, with their front mounted baskets and panniers on a rack above the rear wheel, have been a feature on the streets of Hartlepool for more than a century.
But they are now to be consigned to the past and replaced by vans and push-along trolleys.
Royal Mail chiefs say they are ditching the bikes in response to “the changing nature of deliveries” as people increasingly switch from sending letters to using email while at the same time the number of parcel deliveries from online shopping is increasing.
Bosses have announced that from next month they are changing the way deliveries are made.
The increase in the number of parcels postmen and women are now delivering means the weight of the average postbag has increased and bosses say they are looking to lighten the load for their staff.
A spokesman told the Mail: “As we deliver fewer letters, but more parcels, we are removing bicycles from our operations in the Hartlepool area.
“They are being replaced with vans and trolleys that enable us to deal with the surge in parcels and to also take the weight off the shoulders of our staff. This helps us to deliver mail more securely and safely,”
The change will see the 25 bikes currently in use in Hartlepool taken off the road by the end of next month. The bikes will be recycled after being withdrawn from service.
Royal Mail says it is changing delivery routes and methods in the town and bosses are writing to everyone in the TS24, TS25, TS26 and TS27 postcode areas, including households, businesses and other organisations.
Bosses say they will continue to deliver in the morning and for a longer period during the day, while many customers will continue to get their mail by lunchtime.
The time customers receive mail will depend on where they live on the new delivery route, this may be later or possibly earlier than current delivery times.
They say when mail volumes vary, they may need to adjust delivery arrangements and times.