The US Postal Service will begin slowing deliveries Friday, part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to slash costs.
Nearly four in 10 first-class mail packages will be affected by the new standard changes, which will add an additional day or two to delivery time depending on distance, according to the USPS.
Single-piece first-class mail traveling to local areas — within a three hours’ drive — will continue to be delivered within two days, the USPS said in its service change announcement.
Additionally, packages traveling standard three-day first-class delivery could take up to five days, especially in more rural areas of the country where mail takes longer to reach.
“The service standard changes are part of our balanced and comprehensive Delivering for America Strategic Plan and will improve service reliability and predictability for customers and enhance the efficiency of the Postal Service network,” USPS said in a statement.
“The service standard changes that we have determined to implement are a necessary step towards achieving our goal of consistently meeting 95 percent service performance.”
The hardest-hit states will be out west in California or Nevada, but Florida will also be impacted, according to an analysis by The Washington Post of delivery changes this year.
The change could impact the disabled and elderly the most, experts fear, and could also cause possible financial burdens in late fees if some bills are not paid on time.
The USPS provided the following table for estimated new delivery times based on distance:
|Delivery Standard||Distance Traveled||Transit Time|
|1 Day||Presorted local mail||–|
|2 Day||139 miles||3 hours|
|3 Day||140-930 miles||3-20 hours|
|4 Day||931-1,907 miles||20-41 hours|
|5 Day||1,908 miles+||Over 41 hours|
In March, the Postal Service outlined a proposed 10-year strategic plan that would slow current first-class delivery standards and raise some prices to stem $160 billion in projected debt over the next decade, that includes consolidating nearly 20 mail-processing facilities across the country.
Ronald Stroman, one of President Biden’s three new appointees to the Postal Service’s Board of Governors, called the plan “strategically ill-conceived” in August, according to a report. Another new member, Anton Hajjar, worried about a proposed plan to end air mail delivery, saying that potential savings were not “quantified.”
On Friday, 40 members of Congress signed a bipartisan letter demanding answers in the USPS’ decision to consolidate 18 of its mail-processing facilities.
“We believe that at a minimum, these consolidations should be paused until further information about the justification and impact is made public,” the letter stated.
“We are worried that moving forward with facility consolidations during the ongoing public health emergency, which continues to impact staffing availability, would result in further service delays and erosion of public trust in one of our nation’s most important institutions.”
Lawmakers also slammed the negative impact the consolidations could have on hundreds of USPS employees who may be forced to relocate.
USPS says it hopes that these changes will improve delivery reliability and consistency, even if delivery time slows.
“The postal service has shown steady improvements for all first-class mail, marketing and periodical mail categories over the last seven months,” a USPS spokeswoman said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.
“We have worked tirelessly to overcome challenges from recent storms and continue to recruit thousands of employees for the upcoming holiday peak season.”
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