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On Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service announced its plan to stop mail service on Saturdays. Starting in August, mail delivery will move to five days a week. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has more.
Packages will still be delivered six days a week, but mail delivery will only be Monday through Friday—that’s according to Richard Watkins, a spokesman for the postal service based in Kansas City. He says the plan should save around $2 billion annually, once it’s fully implemented.
“What’s happened over the past ten to twelve years is that more and more people are paying bills online. That means that not only are people not sending checks into department stores and utilities and other retailers, but those retailers and utilities are no longer sending as many first class bills to millions of customers nationwide, and that has really had a big impact.”
Not only on mail volume, he says, but also on revenue. However, he says package shipping won’t be negatively affected.
“Package business, because of e-commerce in fact, is up more than fourteen percent nationwide, so the Postal Service is doing very well with our package delivery service. However, this is one step, and it’s important to point out that it’s simply one step, in gaining that financial stability that the Postal Service knows is necessary long-term.”
He says the postal service has been looking at other options to cut costs, like retail. He says the service announced last year a plan to shorten retail hours at thousands of small post offices across the nation. He says this way, many postal workers can still keep their jobs, and rural offices can stay open. Also, the company has looked at reducing transportation and delivery and mail processing operations to save money.
Watkins told KSMU that those with a P.O. box address can still receive their mail on Saturdays.
“If you’re a small home-based business, for example, who just wants or needs Saturday delivery, you at least have that option of renting a P.O. box because that doesn’t require a delivery person to physically take that mail to a delivery point, whether it’s a home or business.”
Also, post offices that are open on Saturdays now will still be open on Saturdays when the new mail plan is implemented.
When asked if some employees will lose their jobs because of the change in delivery service, Watkins says he’s confident that the USPS will be able to achieve these reductions through attrition rather than through layoffs.
The new delivery schedule will start during the week of Aug. 5, 2013.
For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark