The weakening of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar in recent years has had an effect at the land border crossings closest to the Vancouver metro area. Traffic is down, but the percentage of border crossers who said they drove across to pick up mail is rising. This detail comes from a survey of drivers at the U.S.-Canada border crossings in Whatcom County, Washington, commissioned by the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University and the Whatcom Council of Governments.
In this survey, people crossing in both directions were asked for the main reason for their trip. In 2007, 2 percent of trips were spurred by wanting to pick up mail. In 2013, it was 7 percent. In this year's survey, 8 percent of all border crossers and 10 percent of Canadians said their primary mission was to pick up mail.
Border Policy Research Institute director Laurie Trautman estimates that adds up to about 686,000 trips across the border annually for mail, which goes a long way toward explaining how so many competing mailbox stores can thrive along the northern border in Whatcom County.