The United States Postal Service announced Wednesday, in an effort to save $2 billion each year, that Saturday delivery of first class mail will be cut, beginning in August.
This will affect first class mail delivered to homes and businesses, but will not impact customers with post office boxes. In addition, Saturday package delivery will continue.
Area postmasters, advised not to comment on the announcement, directed all media to contact Monica Robbs, USPS media contact for North Carolina, who describes her job as “a media contact from a national perspective on the state level.”
Robbs said the change in delivery “may actually be a boom to Saturday post office operation,” for post offices which are still open on Saturdays.
There are no specifics on how changes may affect staffing, according to Robbs. “We have been able to work through recent changes with a reduction in hours and resources through attrition. Postal services will be working with the National Association of Letter Carriers to work out contractual obligations — we will be able to work through this and still maintain a local presence. We will still continue to meet the needs of our customers.”
Robbs also mentioned that with the recent increase in package delivery, which is up 14 percent since 2010, the USPS wanted to assure customers they would still be receiving their packages on Saturdays.
The USPS conducted various polls and surveys, which indicated that nearly 7 out of 10 Americans support 5-day first class mail delivery.
According to Robbs, “Online business is booming…it is important to customers across the nation to continue receiving their Saturday packages.”
On Wednesday afternoon, a majority of the customers at the Mount Airy and Toast Post Offices had not heard the announcement, but most were not surprised by the news.
In fact, 18 out of 20 customers informally polled indicated they would not be affected in any way.
Ron House of Dobson is not surprised by the news since, “everybody is broke and wanting more,” and in this case, the customers are the ones who will receive less in order for the USPS to continue operating as normally as possible.
Mount Airy resident Kristy Richardson was one of the office customers who mentioned she does not like the decision and said it may impact the employees of her husband’s business since many checks arrive on Saturdays.
Owner of Mount Airy business Going Postal, Gary Williams, says that he hears many complaints about the post office and most of his customers choose Going Postal because of the streamlined services he said they provide as well as easy access. Wednesday’s announcement by the USPS will not effect mail delivery to the post office boxes rented out in his business, since the store closes at noon and mail received by the customers on Saturdays is held until Monday.
According to Associated Press reports, the post office reported a loss of $15.9 billion in 2012, which was more than triple the loss in 2011. The USPS, through restructuring and raising postage rates, as well as a reduction in workforce, was able to cut annual costs by around $15 billion since 2006. More than 200 mail processing facilities have been consolidated, and multiple local post offices were closed.
In a press conference held yesterday by the USPS, Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, believes that this “new approach to delivery” directly reflects the “financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits.”