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In May 1954 two additional experimental vehicles were procured by negotiated contract with Twin Coach Co.
On June 18, 1954, the Department contracted for 50 Twin Coach vehicles. The contract was negotiated as a procurement of equipment for experimentation.
On August 23, 1954, the Department similarly contracted for 50 Twin Coach vehicles.
This is something separate, but I thought it ought to be in there:
In September 1955 the Department leased 32 Twin Coach vehicles at Atlanta, Ga. The lease also contained a provision that the rentals might be applied toward the later purchase of the vehicles. That was just something separate.
Mr. MEADER. You said 1955 and the statement says 1954.
Mr. GOFF. Yes, but it should be 1955. I might say I dictated this last night, so you would have something in short form in front of you.
On October 26, 1954, the Department contracted for 150 Twin Coach vehicles. The contract was negotiated as a procurement of equipment for experimentation.
In June 1955, after the experiment was completed, the Department purchased 2,000 functional vehicles on open bid at cost of $1,920.69. Bodies by Twin Coach Co., frame and motors by another company. They had joined together on their bid.
The law provides (41 U. S. C. 252 (c) (10)) that purchases and contracts may be negotiated by the head of a Government agency without advertising when such agency head determines that the purchase or contract is for experimental, developmental, or research work, or for the manufacture or furnishing of supplies for experimentation, development, research, or test. The law further provides (41 U.S.C. 257 (c)) that the determination of the agency head shall be based on written findings which shall be final and conclusive.
I would like to submit a report written by Mr. Banton,
Post OFFICE DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D. C., February 27, 1956. Hon. ROBERT H. MOLLOHAN,
House of Representatives. DEAR CONGRESSMAN MOLLOHAN: At the request of Mr. Curtis Johnson of your staff, I am attaching a summary report of the history of the sit-stand vehicle development which include the negotiated purchase of 250 experimental vehicles between July and November 1954. The Department negotiated the contracts for these vehicles under a delegation of authority from the administrator General Services Administration, and pursuant to section 252 (c) (10), title 41, United States Code.
In general. the section of the law cited authorizes the purchase of supplies and services by contract without advertising when the agency head determines that the purchase is for experimental, developmental, or research work or for the manufacturer of equipment for experimentation, development, research, or test. Sincerely yours,
N. R. ABRAMS, Assistant Postmaster General.
LIGHTWEIGHT, SIT-STAND FUNCTIONAL VEHICLES The Post Office Department, in early 1951, undertook a program of research to develop lightweight functional vehicles for use in the postal service. Motor vehicles being used at that time were poorly designed for the collection and delivery of mail. Our efforts to interest large manufacturers to work with us
were fruitless. However, the Mid America Research Corp. (hereafter referred to as the Marco Co.), who were developing functional vehicles for the Marine Corps, were interested and they built, under contract in 1953, a prototype functional vehicle. This vehicle was service-tested on a mounted route in Alexandria, Va., and demonstrated easy maneuverability and the advantages of the functionally designed body revealed that the number of stops could be increased approximately 15 percent over those when using conventional left-hand drive vehicles on delivery routes. Unfortunately, Marco had no manufacturing facilities and could not obtain such that would permit them to produce the vehicle in quantity within the near future at a reasonable price.
In the meantime, various standard vehicles, including Divco, Ford, Chevrolet, International Harvester, and Dodge, were tested but none provided an appreciable number of the desirable features of high maneuverability, ease of mounting and dismounting, light weight, economy of operation, automatic transmissions or clutches, sitting or standing optional driver positions, and extended durability.
Another manufacturer, the Twin Coach Co. of Kent, Ohio, became the only truck manufacturer who evidenced particular interest in our needs and built a vehicle for experimental tests.
This first vehicle, built on the company's own initiative at no expense to the Department, was too small and generally unsatisfactory. Consequently, the company proposed to build a prototype vehicle of functional design according to our specifications. In April 1954, we contracted for two such vehicles which were delivered in May 1954 at Akron, Ohio, where they were initially used for route survey and analysis work and later placed in service to corroborate our earlier tests with the Marco. These two trucks further indicated that this type of vehicle would permit substantial savings. To test the vehicle under more varied conditions, two additional trucks were procured and these were delivered at Akron in June 1954, and were used in evaluation tests on different types of assignments.
A test track was set up in Florida independent of the regular mail system to avoid disruption of services. A first series of controlled tests were made during January and February of 1954 with several carefully selected standard and experimental vehicles produced by several manufacturers. The results of these tests confirmed our earlier experience with the Marco vehicle.
These test track experiences were not, however, considered to be so conclusive as to warrant immediate large-scale procurement Operating service tests under varying conditions and blanketing an entire area were thought to be necessary to determine whether the indicated economies could be realized in a largescale operation. Consequently, specifications were prepared and invitations issued for bids for 250 vehicles of this type. Bids were received from Marco ($4,500), Divco ($2,096.78) with tax it would be $2,264.52 all others quoted with tax, International Harvester ($2,364.14), and Twin Coach Co. ($2,865). Marco's bid of $4,500 a unit precluded further consideration. Divco and International Harvester took numerous exceptions to the specifications and bid only on their heavier modified standard vehicles. Twin Coach Co. was the only bidder agreeing to furnish a vehicle built strictly in accordance with specifications at a reasonable price. However, in the absence of any real competition it was decided that we would not procure 250 of these vehicles all at one time but by procuring them in increments, we could change specifications to incorporate desirable modifications as they were revealed during the service tests. Consequently, the Department continued testing with the prototype vehicles we already had, and negotiated a contract for 50 Twin Coach vehicles in June of 1954 at a unit price of $2,870. Deliveries on these Twin Coach vehicles started in July and the plan was to put them in test service within a radius of 125 miles of Kent, Ohio, so that the manufacturer could readily make repairs or take vehicles back to the plant and make requested modifications with a minimum of lost time.
A second series of Florida track tests were conducted in July and August of 1954 and included one Twin Coach Co. production model functional-design vehicle.
Our experience now proved that a lightweight 34-ton vehicle, incorporating right or center steering, automatic transmission or clutch, sit or stand drive, and functional body, was most efficient as an all-purpose mail collection and delivery vehicle. These specifically designed vehicles would not only reduce service cost, but would reduce carrier effort and improve patron service. The proposed first phase in this program was to replace the obsolete, cumbersome vehicles then in use. However, it was not possible to do this because no major truck manufacturer was interested, during this postwar period, in furnishing the Post Office Department vehicles incorporating the above-mentioned features.
Therefore, specifications were amended in light of experience gained and in August 1954 we negotiated a contract with Twin Coach Co. for an additional 50 vehicles.
Meanwhile, a plan was suggested whereby two foot carriers might deliver their routes and a portion of a third route if equipped with one of these vehicles. This "two-man team” idea originated with the desire to utilize the vehicles to the greatest extent possible. (It is evident that if two men could operate successfully from one vehicle, that the number of vehicles needed to cover territory where their use is practical would be much less than if there were a vehicle for each man.) Additional savings envisioned included the elimination of separate parcel post and relay trucks for those areas which might be converted completely from foot routes to mounted, elimination of transit fares, and reduced travel time to and from routes by carriers. However, this type of operation was not part of the original contemplated utilization and, therefore, the 2-man teams set up at the pilot installations actually were tests to determine practicality. This required the temporary use of vehicles which otherwise would have been used on routes where known advantages could be realized.
The immediate success of the new vehicles indicated the continuing desirability of full development of a plan to eliminate separate parcel post and relay trips for foot routes. Moreover, there was indicated potential reduction of the number of existing mounted routes through the use of these functionally designed vehicles. To insure the nationwide applicability of this mechanization plan, a further extension was deemed advisable. Accordingly, another contract was negotiated with Twin Coach in October 1954, covering additional procurement of 150 units. Transfer of previously purchased vehicles was not deemed advisable because the experimental delivery system involved redistricting carrier routes, case changes, distribution scheme changes, and altered lines of travel. Consequently, transfer of the pilot units would cause disruption to existing delivery service. Deliveries on this last order were made in November 1954.
The 250 sit-stand vehicles were delivered as follows: Akron. 29 | Lorain.
2 Amherst 1 Mansfield
4 Avon Lake 4 Medina.
1 Barberton.8 Niles.
2 Canton -20 | Poland
1 Cleveland. 89 Sandusky.
1 Cuyahoga Falls -16 Struthers..
2 East Liverpool.--1 Tallmadge-
1 Girard. 1 Warren.-
26 Kent.--1 Youngstown.
80 The service as
on which the total of 254 vehicles were utilized were as follows: On curbside mounted routes..
76 On 2-man team routes in former foot territory.
58 On special delivery runs..
12 On collection trips----On former foot routes (1 man)
6 On residential parcel post delivery
4 On various tests in Florida---
193 The balance of 61 vehicles which had been delivered were used at 5 different cities to handle Christmas mails, and saved the cost of renting a like number of vehicles from outside sources.
The advantages, indicated by tests made during the development of the functional vehicles, which could be realized on mounted routes with curbside delivery materialized almost immediately. Likewise, the anticipated advantages on former foot routes in new suburban developments where homes are built farther apart were evident early in the operation of pilot installations.
The 2-man team tests revealed numerous problems. It was difficult to level the workload for each man because it was impossible to control the volume and types of mail to be delivered. Savings in the elimination of relays and separate parcel post deliveries were partially offset. Consequently, the 2-man team +
were discontinued and the vehicles transferred to mounted routes, replacing either old outmoded equipment or vehicles operating at costly contract prices. An average annual saving per vehicle on this type of installation was approxi. mately $700. Lists of locations, as of March 1955, following these transfers, and locations and assignments as of February 1, 1956, are attached.
The introduction of vehicles whose design was a departure from the staid old “rolling strongboxes" (as the existing postal vehicles were known) was not accomplished entirely without pain. The integration of such features as sliding doors, front shelves, low cab floors, automatic transmissions, light weight, low horsepower engines, high gas economy, etc., required design from the ground up, although standard automotive components were to be used throughout.
It was anticipated that these new functional vehicles would give some trouble and plans were made accordingly. It is interesting to note that the defects which did develop were principally of a nature which could be corrected locally, without excessive lost time, and which were made for the most part by the Twin Coach Co. at their expense.
These included such items as front-wheel alinement and springing, replacement of updraft carburetors (on Continental engines) in the first 50 by downdraft carburetors, addition of sway bars, replacement of door rollers and channels, rerouting of front brake hoses and exhau pipe, replacing generator pulleys to increase charge rate, resetting current and voltage regu. lators, installation of air baffles to control engine heat, and a few other minor changes. Additions made at Post Office Department expense included the installation of rubber cab-floor matting, heater, rubber brake pedal covers, elevation of seat backs, and modification of door latches. Some of the difficulties reported were only a matter of familiarity, or the lack of it, by postal drivers. In many cases foot-route carriers were provided with trucks for the first time in their experience.
Subsequent specifications have been rewritten in light of the experiences noted above and include appropriate changes.
The obvious overall success experienced with the installation of lightweight, sit-stand drive functional vehicles is best demonstrated by the fact that, in June 1955, 2,000 additional trucks of this type were purchased on open invitation at a cost of $1,920.69 each, and there is now an outstanding invitation to bid on 800 more of the same truck. It is anticipated that their cost will be below that of the previous procurement. Locations of 254 vehicles as of March 1955, after transfers following
discontinuance of 2-man teams Akron, Ohio.. 24 | Lima, Ohio---
5 Ashtabula, Ohio.-2 Middletown, Ohio--
4 Avon Lake, Ohio--5 Mansfield, Ohio.---
9 Ashland, Ky---5 Medina, Ohio--
1 Alliance, Ohio.--2 Mogadore, Ohio-
1 Amherst, Ohio----1 Madison, Ohio.
1 Barberton, Ohio.-
3 Maumee, Ohio Berea, Ohio.--
3 Miamisburg, Ohio--Brecksville, Ohio
1 Muncie, Ind. Columbus, Ohio.--5 Niles, Ohio--
2 Clyde, Ohio. 1 Olmstead Falls, Ohio..
2 Columbus, Ind..
2 Portsmouth, Ohio--Canton, Ohio 15 Philadelphia, Pa..
12 Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio---4 Poland, Ohio
1 Cleveland, Ohio...
29 Piqua, Ohio Cincinnati, Ohio--
1 Perrysburg, Ohio--Chillicothe, Ohio.-
1 Painesville, Ohio-Defiance, Ohio.---1 Ravenna, Ohio.--.
2 Danville, Ky-1 Springfield, Ohio.--.
6 East Liverpool, Ohio---4 Salem, Ohio.
1 Elyria, Ohio.. 5 Struthers, Ohio--
2 Flint, Mich. 1 Sandusky, Ohio..
1 Fremont, Ohio.---1 Somerset, Ky-
1 Girard, Ohio---
2 Tallmadge, Ohio.-Grove City, Ohio.--1 Troy, Ohio.-
2 Hamilton, Ohio----6 Westlake, Ohio.
4 Kent, Ohio 1 Warren, Ohio..
20 Lorain, Ohio.. 2 Youngstown, Ohio.--
22 Lexington, Ky-----5 | Atlanta, Ga--
Locations and assignments of the 254 vehicles as of Feb. 1, 1956 Akron, Ohio--23 | Chillicothe, Ohio.----
1 Barberton, Ohio 3 Clyde, Ohio..
1 Canton, Ohio.--. 14 Olmstead Falls, Ohio.--
2 Ravenna, Ohio--2 Perrysburg, Ohio
2 Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio--4 Maumee, Ohio.-
1 Medina, Ohio---1 Warren, Ohio.---
16 Tallmadge, Ohio--1 Niles, Ohio.---
3 Mogadore, Ohio.. 1 Girard, Ohio.--
2 Steuben ville, Ohio. 2 Struthers, Ohio..
2 Alliance, Ohio 2 Salem, Ohio.-
1 Cincinnati, Ohio.. 2 East Liverpool, Ohio...
4 Cleveland, Ohio.. 25 Marietta, Ohio...
1 Lorain, Ohio 2 Columbus, Ind.
2 Avon Lake, Ohio. 5 Muncie, Ind.
1 Lima, Ohio---5 Ashland, Ky----
5 Amherst, Ohio--1 Lexington, Ky-
3 Sandusky, Ohio---1 Danville, Ky
1 Chagrin Falls, Ohio.. 3 Frankfort, Ky-
1 Painesville, Ohio.5 Somerset, Ky-
1 Berea, Ohio--3 Brecksville, Ohio--
1 Columbus, Ohio--5 Fremont, Ohio..
1 Grove City, Ohio.--1 Madison, Ohio..
2 Newark, Ohio 1 Defiance, Ohio--
1 Springfield, Ohio--6 Westlake, Ohio
4 Miamisburg, Ohio.. 1 Ashtabula, Ohio
2 Troy, Ohio 2 Elyria, Ohio.
5 Piqua, Ohio---1 Youngstown, Ohio.
23 Hamilton, Ohio.--6 Kent, Ohio
1 Middlestown, Ohio.. 4 Philadelphia, Pa-
12 Mansfield, Ohio.---9 Flint, Mich.-
1 Portsmouth, Ohio.--1 Atlanta, Ga---
4 On curbside mounted routes.
202 On collection trips----
7 On former foot routes (1 man)-
12 On relay, collection, and residential parcel-post deliveryOn residential parcel-post delivery---
21 In addition to the seven used exclusively on collection, many of the vehicles assigned to curbside mounted routes are used on late afternoon and evening collections.
Mr. GoFF. Now, gentlemen, if we could get right down to the contract itself, I know you may have some questions to ask me, but because we are so anxious to give Mr. Gunther an opportunity to get on right away, I would like to call Mr. Gunther of Heller Associates and have him explain to you the actual contract. I will be glad to answer any questions.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Is Mr. Gunther familiar with the transaction involving the negotiations, or more familiar with just the recommendations that this be tried ?
Mr. GOFF. I believe he was here at the time.
Mr. Gunther, you were actually here with the Heller Associates at the time these contracts were let, weren't you?
Mr. GUNTHER. Yes, I was. I was working for the Department at that time, at the time the negotiations were underway. However, my particular phase of the work had to do with the experiments and the testing and the formation of the specifications for the vehicles, not the procurement. I had nothing to do with the actual procurement of the vehicle.
Mr. GoFF. Mr. Chairman, could he make just a very brief statement?