The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced today that it will suspend Saturday mail delivery beginning the first week of August -- unless Congress says no.
Packages and mail addressed to PO boxes will still be delivered on Saturdays, and post offices normally open on Saturdays will stay open. The move has been anticipated for some time, following a more than $5 billion loss by USPS in 2011, as the nation shifts to digital communications.
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) applauded the USPS announcement in a release, but argued more comprehensive reforms are required "to address budget shortfalls and better align the agency with the needs of the Information Age." Eliminating Saturday mail delivery is expected to save about $2 billion per year, far short of the $5 billion USPS shortfall.
"We need a fundamentally new postal model," said ITIF President Rob Atkinson, "where USPS concentrates on its true competitive advantage -- last mile mail delivery -- and opens up all other parts of the system to true and fair competition." Atkinson said the government should still oversee mail delivery, but that the large outdated system of post offices and sorting facilities no longer match public demand.
USPS package delivery has grown 14 percent since 2010, according to the USPS, and is projected to continue to increase. “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," said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe in a release, "and as a driver of growth opportunities for America’s businesses.”
The Postal Service said it is implementing major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, USPS 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.