• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Post Office To Eliminate Most Saturday Mail Delivery

07postal-articleLarge

The Saturday visit from your mail carrier is about to come to an end:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to deliver packages six days a week under a plan aimed at saving about $2 billion, the financially struggling agency says.

In an announcement scheduled for later Wednesday, the service is expected to say the Saturday mail cutback would begin in August.

The move accentuates one of the agency’s strong points — package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet use.

Under the new plan, mail would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages — and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. Though an independent agency, the service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.

It was not immediately clear how the service could eliminate Saturday mail without congressional approval.

As I’ve said before, the fact that the USPS has to get Congressional approval to make what, in the end, is an ordinary business decision is yet another reason why we need to rethink the entire way we handle mail delivery in this country. Nations in Europe and elsewhere have quite successfully completely privatized their mail delivery services, and now have an environment where several companies compete to offer these services. While there are issues unique to the United States such as rural delivery that would need to be dealt with, there’s no reason why we couldn’t do the same thing here. As for Saturday mail delivery, I can’t say I’m going to miss it. It’ll be one less day to worry about cleaning junk mail out of the mail box.

Photo via New York Times

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Great timing – giving a concrete example for my civil service argument from another post on OTB this morning (re: military leadership problems). It is not until the USPS is losing many billions per year that they decide to eliminate the lowest hanging fruit – saving 2-3 billion per year (depending upon who you ask).

    Government is not the problem, the way it is run is the problem. Merit needs to trump longevity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. beth says:

    Great, I can’t wait to pay $2 to mail a letter and hope the $8/hour (without benefits) mail clerk FedEx hires doesn’t decide to drop it in a bag with his other undelivered mail at the local dump.

    The conversation we should be having in this country is what kinds of services we want, how much do they cost and how do we pay for them. Why do we ask the Post Office to show a profit when we don’t ask any other government agency to do so?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  3. ratufa says:

    @Tony W:

    To a large extent, government is the problem. The government has imposed constraints on pension funding, delivery schedules, and what post offices it can close. There are people in Congress who would like to kill off the USPS because it competes with businesses based in their state(s) and there are people in Congress who want it to continue making unprofitable deliveries and keeping post offices open to benefit their rural constituents.

    At this point, I’d be happy if the government just let the USPS compete without interference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  4. john personna says:

    I’ll side with Tony. As long as universal delivery is a requirement government has to fund something. You can pick a “private” company with oversight, or a government division, it doesn’t really matter as much as how well you manage it.

    The cross-goals ratufa are the problem, but the answer is to simply eliminate them, directly.

    (On the main topic, this is great and gives me a little faith in rationality. Now ditch the penny.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. grumpy realist says:

    Considering that Fed Ex and UPS often use the USPS for “the last mile”, especially when it comes to rural delivery, I wonder if our budding libertarians really understand what’s likely to happen if we were to get rid of the USPS.

    Who would deliver mail to most of the country unless it were mandated? Rural residents are far too few and far too spread out to make any sort of parcel delivery economical. Yup, great that you saved 10 cents by ordering over the internet, now you’re going to have to pay $500 to get it shipped to you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  6. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I wonder if, without rural delivery, the USPS would be required to expand PO Box offerings?

    Or would it fall to commercial entities to provide “Box 202″ for Rancher Jim?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. scott says:

    Personally, for residential mail, I think they could just go for 3 days a week (MWF and TTS) and cut that workload in half.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. Tony W says:

    @john personna:

    Now ditch the penny.)

    and the paper one-dollar bill while we’re at it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Sandman says:

    @Tony W: “and the paper one-dollar bill while we’re at it! ”

    What about the strippers?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  10. grumpy realist says:

    Actually, what no one has talked about is the fact that a lot of civil procedure stuff (and contracts) are written assuming that USPS snail mail is a possible method of contact (if not default) to reach someone. Somehow, I don’t think the courts are going to take kindly to an excuse of “well, uh, I didn’t get notice of process because I don’t have a mailbox anymore….”

    And I know full well that trying to beat a USPTO deadline by sending it Fed Ex doesn’t work. That’s why they have Express Mail (where the date you mailed it is considered to be the date it got submitted.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  11. DEBBIE FARMER says:

    FIRST TRY TO BAN OUR GUN RIGHTS, THEN FORCE THE BOY SCOUTS TO CHANGE THEIR POLICIES, NOW CUT MAIL DELIVERY DOWN TO 5 DAYS A WEEK. TALK ABOUT ATTACKING THE CONSTITUTION AND WHAT THIS COUNTRY WAS FOUNDED ON. IN MY OPINION IF THIS HAPPENS THEN ALL MAIL DELIVERY SHOULD BE CUT DOWN TO 5 DAYS A WEEK. AS A RURAL LETTER CARRIER MY CONCERN IS PEOPLE THAT ENJOY GETTING THEIR MAIL 6 DAYS A WEEK MIGHT BE PERSUADED TO OPEN A POST OFFICE BOX INSTEAD OF USING THEIR MAIL BOX SINCE MAIL COMES ON SATURDAY. YOU DONT REALIZE HOW MANY PEOPLE IN RURAL ROUTES LOVE GETTING THEIR MAIL AND SEEING THEIR MAIL PERSON, SOMETIMES THE ONLY PERSON THEY SEE ALL WEEK. THUS THEM GETTING A POST OFFICE BOX WILL TAKE AWAY FROM THE CARRIERS MAILBOX COUNT. THUS SUBTRACTING FROM THEIR PAY AND ADDING TO THE POSTAL SERVICES COFFERS FOR PO BOX RENT. WOW GOD BLESS US ALL

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  12. Trumwill Mobile says:

    @grumpy realist: I would think that absent a USPS to deliverthat final mile , they’d make other accommodations. Like the rural test have to pick it up from the nearest town or they make the house deliveries for out of the way places once a week.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  13. KariQ says:

    I think the problems could be solved very quickly if Congress would stop micro-managing the USPS and let them make decisions. Stop requiring them to fund retirement decades in advance, stop requiring them to get Congressional approval to raise rates, stop interfering every time they make a decision. Give them their mandate: provide service to every address in America, then let them decide how to do it. The USPS has plans for dealing with their problems, but Congress won’t let them act on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. john personna says:

    @Sandman:

    Most are single moms and could use $5.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Tony W says:

    @Sandman:

    What about the strippers?

    nobody ever thinks of the poor strippers… I’ve heard suggestions that clubs issue “script” at the door for this purpose. Never had the pleasure of visiting one of these joints so I’ll have to leave it at that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0