Saturday mail will be eliminated nationwide by the first week of August, as the United States Postal Service (USPS) aims to eliminate red ink. Patrick R. Donahoe, 73rd Postmaster General and USPS chief executive officer, made the announcement February 6, pointing to an expected $2 billion in annual savings by the reduced mailing week.
“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe explained. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”
Postal customers with street addresses will receive regular mail five days a week, but those with mailboxes in postal offices open on Saturdays will continue to enjoy six-day mail delivery. Senders will still be able to post letters on Saturdays at USPS offices, as well as drive-through and fixed-point mailboxes, although carriers will not pick up from residential mailboxes.
An expected change
The five-day mailing week comes as no surprise to most postal customers, as the USPS has long advocated the cost saving measure. The change comes after considerable market research studies by the USPS and several major news organizations, indicating nearly 70 percent of Americans surveyed supported the fiscal preservation step.
“The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation,” Donahoe commented. “The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail.”
Six-day package delivery ongoing
Although regular mail will stop on Saturdays by the week of August 5, 2013, package deliveries are expected to continue Monday through Saturday, the USPS announcement confirmed.
Since 2010, the postal service has seen a 14 percent increase in package delivery volume, perhaps resulting from online commerce and corporate streamlining.
“Our customers see strong value in the national delivery platform we provide and maintaining a six-day delivery schedule for packages is an important part of that platform,” Donahoe added. “As consumers increasingly use and rely on delivery services — especially due to the rise of e-commerce — we can play an increasingly vital role as a delivery provider of choice, and as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses.”
Latest in a series of USPS red-lines
Facing financial struggles, the USPS has implemented several budget-cutting strategies in the past several years, including the closure of many postal offices and significant staff reductions.