On Wednesday morning the U.S. Postal Service announced that it will eliminate Saturday delivery of mail by Aug. 5. Faced with rising costs and falling revenues, officials say that the six-days-per-week mail delivery business model “no longer sustainable.”
The plan to change delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first-class mail. Packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still be delivered on Saturdays.
As yet, it's unclear whether the announcement may also portend further cuts at the local level. The Postal Service is in the midst of a large-scale restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Over the last seven years, has cut annuals costs by $15 billion, slashed its workforce by 28 percent (about 193,000 jobs), and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations.
"There’s really no way to determine impacts to individual offices yet," Postal Service Spokesman Pete Nowacki told Patch.
Contrary to popular belief, the USPS receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, instead relying on the sale of postage, products and services for funds. According to the U.S. Postal Service, the reasons are continued economic struggles and the increasing use of the Internet for communications and bill paying by consumers. The U.S. Postal Service is also the only federal agency required to pre-fund health benefits for retirees, and those costs are escalating quickly. Officials with the Postal Service say that eliminating Saturday delivery will save $2 billion annually.
Saturday is the lightest mail delivery day by volume and many businesses are closed on Saturdays, according to the U.S. Postal Service. However, many residents receive print magazines and ads on Saturdays in the mail that may be shifted to another day.
This is not the first cost-cutting measure in recent history for USPS. In August 2011,. Richfield's post office was one of more than 20 Minnesota post offices which would be put under “full study” and considered for closure or significant overhaul. Since then, no more has been said about a potential closure.
A Rasmussen poll on mail delivery in 2012 showed “Three-out-of-four Americans (75%) would prefer the U.S. Postal Service cut mail delivery to five days a week rather than receive government subsidies to cover ongoing losses.”
A USA Today/Gallup poll in 2010 found the majority of U.S. residents surveyed were ok with eliminating Saturday delivery. The March 2010 telephone survey of 999 adults revealed people age 55 and older were more likely than younger people to have used the mail to pay a bill or send a letter in the past two weeks.
Speak out: How will this change affect you? Will you miss getting mail on Saturdays?