USPS plans to drop Saturday mail
Amid continued financial struggles for the United States Postal Service, it was decided to stop delivering first-class mail on Saturdays, beginning in August.
‘Our financial condition is urgent,’ Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said last week.
Mail such as letters and magazines will be affected, while packages will still be delivered. Post office boxes would also receive Saturday mail, under the new plan, which could still be nixed by Congress.
Postal service officials said package delivery has increased 14 percent since 2010, while the delivery of letters and regular mail has plummeted.
Online communications such as e-mail have contributed to the decrease in letters, while online purchases have increased package shipping.
‘The transition to a new delivery schedule that would include package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday will be a tremendous help to the U.S. Postal Service,’ David Walton, USPS regional communications director, said.
‘The postal service would still maintain a universal service. We are making these changes to remain viable and relevant. If we can’t survive in the current model, how is that going to help anyone? We must evolve as society has evolved, and these measures we are taking are all about preserving the postal service for the people who rely on it.’
The USPS lost $1.3 billion in the October to December quarter, which is the first quarter of the service’s fiscal year. However, that’s significantly less than the $3.3 billion it lost in the same time frame last year.
The time period is typically the strongest because of the holidays.
The postal service defaulted twice last year on required payments to the federal government and lost almost $16 billion during the entire fiscal year.
Cutting back to five-day mail delivery will save $2 billion a year, according to the USPS.
Walton said currently the postal service delivers over a six-day period. So, in effect, it will deliver the same amount of mail over a five-day period ‘just as effectively and efficiently.’ He said medicines are of a great concern to customers, so they will still be delivered as packages under the new plan on Saturdays.
The USPS will keep post offices on their normal schedules.
The president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, said the cutback is ‘a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers.’
Since 2006, the postal service has cut annual costs by about $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations.
Jean Brunner, who is retired after 30 years working out of the Corydon post office, said she hopes everything evens out and the postal service is able to stay viable.
Supervision, or lack of, within post offices is one of the factors that could lead to an office not functioning properly, Brunner said.
‘Back before I retired, I felt like it was an entity that would be there,’ Brunner said.
And for now, it will be, just without mail delivered on Saturdays.
<BSatterfield’s now a village post office
Satterfield’s Lawn and Garden in Depauw can now sell stamps and houses a drop box for the United States Postal Service as a village post office. The drop box is located next to the main entrance and can be used 24 hours a day. The Depauw post office, located just north of Satterfield’s, has a 24-hour lobby.