U.S. Postal Service Announces New Delivery Schedule; Five Days of Mail Delivery to Street Addresses Begins August 2013

U.S. Postal Service Mail Delivery Two-Ton Truck

The U.S. Postal Service has announced that, beginning in August 2013, regular mail delivery to street addresses will no longer occur on Saturday, while package delivery will still take place.  Saturday delivery will still occur for post office boxes.

The Postal Service projects a hoped-for $2 billion in savings from the move, part of a broader set of changes including the slashing of career workforce and consolidation of distribution facilities

The operational plan for the new delivery schedule anticipates a combination of employee reassignment and attrition and is expected to achieve cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually when fully implemented.

The Postal Service is currently implementing major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by approximately $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations.

In the past, it has been claimed that First Class letters cost more for delivery than what is charged for the postage, and that the delivery of what had been a staple of everyday mail was subsidized by other, more profitable services such as Express Mail.

The Postal Service has been impacted by, not only the advent of e-mail to take the place of letters, but also by online bill payment and online form processing.

For example, in addition to the payment of miscellaneous bills such as utilities, it used to be an annual national ritual for post offices to be packed with mobs of taxpayers on tax day, April 15, looking to mail their tax returns, and perhaps get proof of mailing.

Yet now, the crowds are gone.  Postal service employees point to online filing as the reason.

Meanwhile, entities such as banks, utilities or other businesses often now provide online record-keeping, including making statements and bills available electronically, with an option to forgo paper entirely.

So the transition seems to be that, when it comes to the transfer of information, or the transfer of funds, electronics has been displacing the use of paper delivered by the Postal Service.

For those still wanting Saturday delivery, the move to continue Saturday delivery to post office boxes perhaps adds an incentive to encourage the public to consider obtaining a PO box to begin with.

The PO boxes seem to be greeted positively by postal employees, given that they represent both an additional source of revenue for the Postal Service and greater ease in delivery.  After final sorting at the destination, the mail is delivered by cart indoors, over a small distance, to a concentrated area, rather than by use of a fuel-driven vehicle across miles to multiple points.

The entire cost dynamic therefor would be totally different for PO boxes.  And a move to provide incentives to pay for the PO box service would have added impact, if it encourages greater use of PO boxes, especially at central points like a main post office, or at a neighborhood post office convenient to a citizen’s home, adding justification for a particular neighborhood post office to remain open and available.

To be sure, it is not necessarily clear that there has been six-day delivery to all street addresses to begin with, prior to the change.  From an anecdotal standpoint, anyone with experience working in an office high-rise, for example, will note that offices generally do not distribute mail on Saturdays.  And, for office buildings where the mail for each tenant gets left in marked plastic crates in publicly accessible mailrooms off the lobby, to be taken up manually to each tenant, it does not appear mail gets left sitting there from Saturday to Monday.  So it might be that five-day delivery already has been occurring for some time in those contexts.

Electric or Hybrid Vehicles?

One significant question that, perhaps, has not been addressed, is why the Postal Service continues to use traditional mail delivery vehicles burning fossil fuels.  While much has been invested in the existing fleet, given the high costs of fuel and environmental concerns, one would have expected the Postal Service to be an ideal setting in which to introduce electric or hybrid vehicles, for tasks involving limited daily mileage.

Interestingly, while the Postal Service indicates that it receives no tax dollars, one area in which tax dollars might have been justified, and in which tax dollars arguably have not always met great profitability elsewhere, would be in providing a loan or investment in converting postal vehicles to all-electric or hybrids.

Ideally newly purchased vehicles would be made by American workers, if possible for American-owned companies.

The desire to support U.S. industry moving further along the research and development, technological development curve, to encourage growth in this area, and to help invest in the development of the electric and hybrid infrastructure and knowledge base should have provided a practical incentive for taxpayer-funded government to support such a move.

And if that kind of business- and energy-focused investment also helped the Postal Service with its bottom line, so be it.

Time will tell.

What we know now is, in August 2013 mail delivery to street addresses will be limited to non-holiday weekdays, with package delivery and delivery to PO boxes continuing to occur on Saturday.

News & Resource Links

U.S. Postal Service to cut Saturday delivery – WT 2.6.13
> Postal Service to stop delivering mail on Saturdays – USAT 2.6.13
> After 150 years, U.S. Postal Service will cut Saturday delivery – UPI 2.6.13
>

> U.S. Post Service press release 2.6.13

The entire text of their February 6, 2013, press release follows:

Postal Service Announces New Delivery Schedule
Six Days of Package Delivery, Five Days of Mail Delivery Begins August 2013

February 06, 2013
Release No. 13-019

WASHINGTON — The United States Postal Service announced plans today to transition to a new delivery schedule during the week of Aug. 5, 2013 that includes package delivery Monday through Saturday, and mail delivery Monday through Friday. The Postal Service expects to generate cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually, once the plan is fully implemented.

“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,” said Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. However, recent strong growth in package delivery (14 percent volume increase since 2010) and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days per week.

“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,” said Donahoe. “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.”

Once implemented during August of 2013, mail delivery to street addresses will occur Monday through Friday. Packages will continue to be delivered six days per week. Mail addressed to PO Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays. Post Offices currently open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays.

Market research conducted by the Postal Service and independent research by major news organizations indicate that nearly seven out of ten Americans (70 percent) supported the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs in its effort to return the organization to financial stability.¹ Support for this approach will likely be even higher since the Postal Service plans to maintain six-day package delivery.

The Postal Service is making the announcement today, more than six months in advance of implementing five-day mail delivery schedule, to give residential and business customers time to plan and adjust. The Postal Service plans to publish specific guidance in the near future for residential and business customers about its new delivery schedule.

Given the ongoing financial challenges, the Postal Service Board of Governors last month directed postal management to accelerate the restructuring of Postal Service operations in order to strengthen Postal Service finances.

“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,” said Donahoe. “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.”

The operational plan for the new delivery schedule anticipates a combination of employee reassignment and attrition and is expected to achieve cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually when fully implemented.

The Postal Service is currently implementing major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by approximately $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations. During these unprecedented initiatives, the Postal Service continued to deliver record high levels of service to its customers.

While the change in the delivery schedule announced today is one of the actions needed to restore the financial health of the Postal Service, legislative change is urgently needed to address matters outside the Postal Service’s control. The Postal Service continues to seek legislation to provide it with greater flexibility to control costs and generate new revenue and encourages the 113th Congress to make postal reform legislation an urgent priority.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

¹ Sources: Gallup Poll, March 26, 2010 • New York Times/CBS News, June 27, 2012 • USA Today, March 17, 2010 • Washington Post, March 30, 2010

 

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For reporters interested in speaking with a regional Postal Service public relations professional, please go to http://about.usps.com/news/media-contacts/usps-local-media-contacts.pdf.

 

Please Note: For broadcast quality video and audio, photo stills and other media resources, visit the USPS Newsroom at http://about.usps.com/news/welcome.htm.

 

We will provide a satellite/fiber feed from 3 p.m. EST to 5 p.m. EST. We will continuously re-feed the press conference video during this timeframe. Stations can contact Encompass directly to arrange a fiber switch. 800-243-1995. Stations experiencing technical difficulties should call the Encompass Technical Operations Center (TOC) at 678-421-6604.

 

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A self-supporting government enterprise, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation — 151 million residences, businesses and Post Office™ Boxes. The Postal Service™ receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations. With 32,000 retail locations and the most frequently visited website in the federal government, usps.com®, the Postal Service has annual revenue of approximately $65 billion and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail. If it were a private sector company, the U.S. Postal Service would rank 35th in the 2011 Fortune 500. In 2011, Oxford Strategic Consulting ranked the U.S. Postal Service number one in overall service performance of the posts in the top 20 wealthiest nations in the world. Black Enterprise and Hispanic Business magazines ranked the Postal Service as a leader in workforce diversity. The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency for six years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute. Follow the Postal Service on www.twitter.com/USPS and at www.facebook.com/USPS.

After 150 years, US Postal Service will cut Saturday delivery

 


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