Opinion: Free shipping isn’t actually free: New York City should impose a $3-per-package fee

Just hear those horns honking and beep-beep-tingling too. Instead of silver bells, the new sound of the holidays in the city are the honking horns of delivery trucks. On an average day in New York City, there are over 1.5 million packages delivered to homes and apartments. We will smash that daily record every single day from now until Christmas. The ubiquity of one-click shopping and free two-day delivery has turbo-charged the number of deliveries city residents receive daily. It is unsustainable, and we need to fix our policies to reflect that fact.

I don’t want to be a grinch, but there is no such thing as free delivery. Delivery has a cost — especially the highly inefficient and wasteful same-day and two-day delivery choices that are now commonplace. Same-day and two-day delivery eliminate the previous efficiencies that more standard delivery choices created. That is because same-day and two-day delivery require many more truck trips and many more deliveries, with each pack of tube socks getting individually wrapped in a cardboard box.