On the way along postal round 23 at Le Lignon
In the housing development of Le Lignon in Geneva, Swiss Post delivers mail to some 6,500 people over a distance of around one kilometre. This proves to be a major logistical challenge in an area classified as a protected monument by the State of Geneva and claimed to be the longest lateral shaped building in Switzerland.
Rich Content Section
Wednesday 6 July, 7 a.m. Le Lignon, in the municipality of Vernier, canton of Geneva, is already buzzing with life. The sky is bright blue. Colourful blinds are drawn down in anticipation of a hot day. The café terraces are filled with early morning workers.
At the premises of the Swiss Post branch, in the heart of the district, the team is busy preparing their rounds. Every day, Hocine, Catherine, Giuseppe, Nadège, Phil, Antony, Panasiti, Mohamed and Georges prepare some 23,000 letters and 800 parcels.
A city within a city
Over a space of just 1,060 metres, there are a very large number of customers. Le Lignon comprises a main building of 15 floors in one long zigzag, plus two high towers. It was built in the 1960s and today includes 84 entrances, 2,780 homes, businesses and associations, a school, two churches and a shopping center.
Today, three people will cover the entire Le Lignon chain. Two on foot and one driving an electric delivery vehicle.
“I know everyone here”
Mail carrier Hocine Djeffal is in charge of postal round 23. It takes him about three and a half hours to serve 32 entrances – from number 28 to 59 – and more than 1,100 private letter boxes.
Hocine is on foot, pushing a “bérot”, or a small postal trolley that’s more than thirty years old but has proved its worth in this urban development, with its countless alleyways, stairwells, steps and narrow lifts.
Hocine starts by doing a favour for one of his colleagues and goes through the shopping center to deliver mail to the bakery and the kiosk. “Hello Hocine!” the baker says. “Hello, how are you? I’m bringing you the newspaper,” the mail carrier replies with a smile.
“I know everyone here,” explains the man who has been working in Le Lignon for two years, after having worked in other Swiss Post branches in the canton of the Geneva.
Work is carried out in a pleasant atmosphere at Le Lignon. © François Wavre
Rich Content Section
At Le Lignon, solidarity and helping each other are the order of the day
Visiting the housing. Hocine carries out one task after another tirelessly. Entering the digicode, putting mail or magazines in dozens of letter boxes, ringing the bell for a registered letter or a parcel, requesting a signature, handing over the mail or scanning the label in the event of an absence.
The mail carrier meets many people along the way. The atmosphere is friendly and warm. In this complex, where no less than 104 nationalities live together, everyone greets each other. Sometimes you have to take more time for an elderly person or a person with a disability.
“At Le Lignon, we have a very close-knit relationship with our customers. When we pass by, everyone says hello. At the end of the year, the residents thank us for our work.”
Hocine meets Antonio, the caretaker of flats 50 to 53 for more than two decades. “The man from the tenth floor hasn’t come to collect his mail,” Hocine tells him. “Yes I know, he was taken to hospital. If I see his son, I’ll give it to him.” At Le Lignon, solidarity and helping each other are the order of the day.
An efficient and effective delivery system
“I adapt to the needs of the customers for each round,” explains Hocine. The organization is thorough. Everything in the trolley is arranged according to the route. “We have a storage system that ensures we don’t waste time. Good organization is essential to ensure we work under good conditions,” he emphasizes.
Before and after the round, the mail carriers work at the branch. They update the customer database, deal with undelivered mail and also think about how to improve their next rounds.
The Le Lignon branch strives to be efficiently organized, offering a quality service that can be adapted to the fluctuating number of letters and parcels.
The postal trolley is very practical for deliveries in Le Lignon. © François Wavre
Rich Content Section
At the end of the round, the building caretaker Antonio exceptionally takes us up to see the view from the fifteenth floor.
In the distance, a few blocks from Le Lignon, a new neighbourhood is under construction. This poses a new challenge for the branch at Le Lignon. A postal service will have to be provided in future for the new residents. And mail and parcels delivered with the same smile and quality as in Le Lignon.