Postal Service to Cut Saturday Mail


#1

Apparently trying an end-run around an unaccommodating [COLOR=#366388]Congress, the financially struggling U.S.Postal Service says it will stop delivering mail on Saturdays but continue to disburse packages six days a week.[/COLOR]
In an announcement scheduled for later Wednesday, the service is expected to say the Saturday mail cutback would begin in August and could save $2 billion annually.
The move accentuates one of the agency’s strong points — package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet services.
Under the new plan, mail would be delivered to homes and businesses only from Monday through Friday, but would still be delivered to post office boxes on Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.

Postal Service to Cut Saturday Mail - Yahoo! News

Sorry I do not feel sorry for the Post Office. Just like the government they have excesses they will not address so they fall back on the story I read so often that it is some other cause that is at fault.


#2

Mail volumes are down. I cant remember when was the last time that I recieved anything on a Saturday. Not even junk mail. Maybe this is the first step in privatizing US mail service like they are transitioning to in Canada. You free market guru’s should be all about that.


#3

Privatized mail service that could compete with competition (unlike the monstrosity of the USPS) would be great!

I think this cut is probably a combination of things like email, etc and lack of efficiency, like most other government run entities. My guess is the bloated nature of USPS is mostly at fault.


#4

They’re going to contintue disbursing packages on Saturdays, and post offices now open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays.
I fail to see where the cuts are. At least not to the tune of $2 billion annually.

Most free-market folks have been in favor of privatizing the mail service for a long time. Self, included. If UPS and FedEx can deliver packages timely and successfully, there’s no reason they couldn’t deliver letters, as well. If they so choose, that is.


#5

They just won’t be delivering to homes and businesses on Saturdays. At least they gave us 6 months notice!

The problem with UPS and FedEx jumping in to the “letter” delivery game (more than they already are) is I don’t think they can compete with the prices USPS offers, after all, USPS has millions of tax payers backing them. If USPS shut down completely, private companies would jump in to fill the void.


#6

I’m completely ignorant of UPS vs. FedEx vs. USPS, pricewise. I do know that mailing packages via USPS has gotten very expensive.

That aside, I wasn’t clear on what I meant by letter carrier going private. All I was saying is that if businesses other than the USPS can figure out how to get boxes to individual homes, any business interested in the investment could.
IOW, it’s do-able.


#7

Fed Ex and UPS is way more convenient and affordable IMO for sending packages than USPS. Plus you kow exactly when they’ll arrive and you can track every step of the way. Where USPS is really needed and do make a chunk of change is around tax time.


#8

UPS, FedEx, etc… are usually my choice when shipping a larger package. I could be wrong, but I think if you are just mailing a letter it is MUCH cheaper (at least at the time of paying postage, other taxes not included) to use USPS. I just looked at for a price on Shipping, Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Management from UPS to ship a regular letter about 20 miles and the cheapest option they gave me was $28.18 for Next Day Air Saver.

UPS won’t ship letters via “UPS Ground”… I assume because they can’t compete… think about fuel costs, wages, and all of the other over head that USPS just throws easily borrowed and/or tax money at.


#9

I think there is some restriction on letters being sent by non-USPS carriers.


#10

Wow… you’re right… I can’t believe I didn’t know that… I might have heard it before but I didn’t remember it.

It seems “extremely urgent” letters can be sent by private carriers (which explains the next day air service from UPS). It seems that private carriers can deliver regular letters but they have to collect the USPS postage in addition to their charge so they, BY LAW, would be more expensive…

It looks like this might date back to 1792. Publication 542 - Understanding the Private Express Statutes


#11

[quote=“atodds, post:10, topic:38115”]
Wow… you’re right… I can’t believe I didn’t know that… I might have heard it before but I didn’t remember it.

It seems “extremely urgent” letters can be sent by private carriers (which explains the next day air service from UPS). It seems that private carriers can deliver regular letters but they have to collect the USPS postage in addition to their charge so they, BY LAW, would be more expensive…

It looks like this might date back to 1792. Publication 542 - Understanding the Private Express Statutes
[/quote] The law only prohibits Couriers from delivering over postal routes which DHL, UPS and Fed Ex dont do. It’s still way cheaper to send a priority overnight letter via UPS as opposed to USPS. A flat rate USPS Express letter is about 18 bucks, whereas UPS it’s never more than 11. It’s even cheaper if its a business that is a “prefered customer”


#12

I’m sure we could get a Constitutional amendment to remove post offices from the enumerated powers.

Of course, the last time the federal goverment used an amendment to legitimately do something was prohibition.


#13

[quote=“atodds, post:8, topic:38115”]
UPS, FedEx, etc… are usually my choice when shipping a larger package. I could be wrong, but I think if you are just mailing a letter it is MUCH cheaper (at least at the time of paying postage, other taxes not included) to use USPS. I just looked at for a price on Shipping, Freight, Logistics and Supply Chain Management from UPS to ship a regular letter about 20 miles and the cheapest option they gave me was $28.18 for Next Day Air Saver.

UPS won’t ship letters via “UPS Ground”… I assume because they can’t compete… think about fuel costs, wages, and all of the other over head that USPS just throws easily borrowed and/or tax money at.
[/quote] Uh, I don’t think thats right. My buddy works in a mailroom for an accounting firm and ships piles of letters UPS ground every day. A UPS legal letter going priority overnight to Los Angeles is about $9.70** Edit:** That’s weird, if you walk in off the street. It’s way expensive to send a letter overnight UPS and there’s no Ground option for a letter. However it’s dirt cheap for businesses and they have the ground option for letters. Fed-Ex Express saver which is like ground is about 23 bucks for someone walking in off the street.


#14

I learned a long time ago to use UPS for all packages and express mail. The company I worked for (a college textbook publisher) used UPS exclusively for everything. In the 5 years I worked there, not one package or priority next-day letter was lost or late. On the other hand, USPS “priority express” mail sent a next-day-air priority letter (for which I paid $26.00) to Key West–it was going to New York (from Chicago). It took 2 days for it to finally get to the correct destination. UPS is the only carrier I use for any kind of packages or next-day letters.


#15

I ordered some nursery stock last fall, and it never came. I got a refund for it. Anyway, I called the company that sent it, they sent it US Mail, from Cincinnati, OH. It got to Monroe, PA, and I should have got it within the next business day. But it got stuck on a truck going to South Carolina - and around the time of the storm. It never showed up again on their records.


#16

No one can use mailboxes, except for the US Postal Service, and that’s a significant disadvantage for anyone trying to compete with them in the delivery of mail. And no one wants to compete with the USPS on delivery of first class mail. FedEx nor UPS cannot, in their wildest dreams, deliver a letter for 46 cents. Never happen. The USPS is also very competitive on small package delivery. Their flat rate box delivery dominates on e-Bay sales for just that reason, and they do offer tracking.

FedEx and UPS dominate on overnight delivery and for good reason; you pay for it. Their infrastructure has allowed them to become very competitive on non-overnight delivery.

The US Postal Service actually does a pretty good job given their mandate and the constraints of their service. Their priority letter delivery sucks by comparison to FedEx and one will note that they don’t even guarantee overnight delivery…even though that’s what you’re purchasing. It’s in the fine print!

The single biggest problem the USPS faces, aside from the decline in the use of first class mail, is that it is mandated to deliver everywhere, to almost every address, within the USA. 99.9% of Americans have never lived anywhere where daily home delivery and pick up of the mail was not available. Like all similar businesses, the USPS largest expense is not labor, it’s fuel. And unlike UPS or FedEx, it cannot raise its rates when the cost of fuel goes up. Those approaching this subject from a privatization basis should consider how attractive the business might be if entering it with fuel at $2/gallon and that fuel then went to $3 or $4 and you could not raise your rates to pay for it. There are labor burdens and union contracts to deal with, but they are no different than those contracts all of government is dealing with, in that they were written in an age when pensions were the norm, people did not live all that long post-retirement, and health care costs were not careening into the stratosphere.

What might aid consumers best, save the USPS, as well as improve the services and capabilities of the USPS putative competitors is changing the law to allow FedEx and UPS to deliver their packages and letters to local USPS offices. FedEx and UPS excel at getting things from one place to another which are a long way apart. They have trouble competing between locations close together and the whole home delivery aspect is a drag on their business model. A modified system could enable the consumer to place a FedEx letter in his mailbox and get it reliably delivered overnight, with the same convenience as were they mailing a first class letter, with billing being the only real issue, but a surmountable one. The advantage to those private businesses, FedEx and UPS, would be that they wouldn’t have to send multiple trucks to small communities…the USPS already has trucks in place, operating six days per week.

And, of course, crony capitalism comes into play as in almost everything the government does. The biggest money loser for the USPS is bulk mail delivery, junk mail, which it is forced by law to offer at a rate which ensures it loses money. Try to outlaw that subsidy to business, and it is a subsidy, and you’ll hear an outcry from businesses all across the nation. The reason you get so much junk mail is that it’s cheaper to send than your gas bill is. The USPS would love to either get out of that business or, at least, be able to charge appropriately for it.

Every mail service in the world is going through this and dealing with it one way or another. In America, it’s the same old debate; Americans want cheap, fast, reliable mail service that they don’t have to pay for.


#17

Correction - it did show up as having been put on a truck back to PA - but that was the last of it.


#18

What do you mean about fuel prices going up but a business not being able to raise rates? If it were controlled by the private sector, they COULD raise their rates.


#19

What I meant is that, while we’re rightfully critical of the inefficiencies of the post office, they are constrained in ways that private business is not. How long would a private business service unprofitable routes and addresses, or not pass along gas cost increases to the customer? Not long, is the answer. Yet we expect the post office to be efficient despite its inability to alter those two very real factors, no?


#20

OK, I see what you mean.

The other angle here is that USPS has sources of funding that differ from a business in the private sector. It’s very hard to compare the two. I would guess that if UPS and USPS played by the same rules, UPS could run much more efficiently than USPS… again, it’s hard to say though.

The problem is you can’t generally just fix one thing like privatizing the mail service…ideally, you could also make changes to keep fuel costs low, reduce tax overhead on these businesses, etc…