Postal service ends Saturday delivery
The United States Postal Service announced Wednesday that it will eliminate Saturday mail delivery later this year.
Mail delivery will run from Monday through Friday beginning Aug. 5, 2013, according to a postal service press release. The postal service hopes to save $2 billion annually from the move.
Rich Watkins, postal service media contact for the Quad Cities, said it will take time for customers to become accustomed to no Saturday deliveries. He said that’s why the postal service is making the announcement six months in advance.
Watkins said he was unsure of how the change would affect the delivery of newspapers such as The Fairfield Ledger. He said the postal service could make special arrangements with newspapers and other large mailers to ensure their deliveries arrive in a timely fashion.
“When we studied the feasibility of moving the mail processing operations from Sioux City to Sioux Falls, we worked with the mailers in the Siouxland area to determine how to handle their mail,” he said. “That would be an example of where our operations and marketing folks worked with individual publishers.”
Watkins said the changes will likely prompt some customers to get a post office box. Post offices that are currently open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays even after Saturday deliveries end. This would allow post office-box holders to pick up their mail on Saturday instead of waiting until Monday.
As a general rule, customers in Fairfield can plan on a one-day delivery for mail to arrive in a city as far away as Des Moines, although Watkins said that could occasionally take two days. He said that to deliver mail from Fairfield to a city as far as St. Louis is almost always two days. Customers should plan on a three-day delivery for mail that is sent farther than Denver.
“If you’re mailing something beyond the Rockies, you’re talking about a three-day area,” he said.
Watkins said the post office is forced to cut services at the present time because it’s losing so much money.
“We’re losing $25 million a day,” he said. “We’ve seen more than a 25 percent drop in first-class mail in the past several years.”
Watkins said that the elimination of Saturday delivery doesn’t figure to be popular with the general public, but he believes it will be more popular than the alternatives.
“We’ve asked our customers and 70 percent of our residential and commercial customers prefer five-day mail as opposed to raising the price of postage or closing post offices,” he said. “We’ve reached the point where we have to do what’s best for the nation’s postal system.”
The decline in first class mail can be attributed to the growing popularity of paying bills over the Internet, Watkins said. He has noticed that credit card companies send fewer and fewer bills through the mail.
The postal service will continue to ship packages on Saturdays. Watkins said this division of the postal service is doing well.
“Our package volume is up 14 percent in the last two years,” he said. “We deliver thousands of packages for UPS and FedEx. Both of them take advantage of our letter carriers, while we take advantage of FedEx’s air fleet.”