The End of Saturday Mail Draws Closer

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

In an attempt to stop hemorrhaging money, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) wants to eliminate Saturday mail delivery. But first Postmaster General John Potter must win the support of the USPS board of directors, the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congress.

The Postal Service, which lost $3.8 billion in 2009, is expected to lose another $7 billion this year. But if it’s able to stop delivering and picking up mail on Saturdays, it says it could save $3.1 billion in the first year of the five-day service and perhaps as much as $5.1 billion by 2020.
If the plan is implemented, post offices would still be open on Saturdays and postal workers would deliver mail to P.O. boxes. Express mail services also would continue seven days a week.
A recent poll conducted by USA Today/Gallup showed a majority of Americans are willing to accept the loss of Saturday mail delivery. The acceptance is highest among older people, who rely more on the Postal Service than do younger Americans.
This is not the first time that the Postal Service has tried to eliminate Saturday deliveries. Budget problems led to temporary suspension of Saturday service in some cities in May and June of 1947. In 1957, another budget crisis convinced Postmaster General Arthur Summerfield to cut service on Saturday, April 13. There was such an outcry that President Dwight Eisenhower quickly signed a bill increasing Postal Service funding, and by the following Saturday, mail boxes were full once again. In Loma Linda, California, where the large Seven-Day Adventist population celebrates the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday, mail is delivered on Sundays rather than on Saturdays.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Postal Officials Expected to Back Five-Day Mail Week (by Ed O’Keefe, Washington Post)
Postal Service Seeks 5-day Delivery (by Donna Leinwand, USA Today)
Poll: Most OK with 5-day Mail Service (by Donna Leinwand, USA Today)


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