Most of us rely on the US Postal Service (USPS) for daily mail service, whether we’re on the receiving end or mailing a package out. However, financial woes and frustration about delivery delays have left the agency with a lot on its plate. Earlier this month, it was announced that the USPS would be receiving federal financial relief as part of the Postal Service Reform Act, which will provide nearly $50 billion in relief over the next 10 years and allow the agency to regain some “flexibility,” USA Today reported. However, amid ongoing reform, the USPS is also making adjustments that could slow down your deliveries. Read on to learn more about the changes the USPS has planned for May 1.
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On April 6, the USPS filed noted with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) that it would be raising First-Class Mail prices by 6.5 percent. Prices are anticipated to take effect on July 10, 2022, affecting stamps, letters, and postcards. The agency also introduced two new shipping fees this month, Nonstandard Fees and the Dimension Noncompliance Fee, which could incur surcharges ranging between $1.50 and $15. Now, yet another change is in store, officials say, this time impacting delivery speed.
On Monday, the USPS announced it would be making changes to slow down delivery times for almost one-third of small, lightweight packages. These changes to service standards—the “delivery benchmarks” for how long you can expect your mail to get to you—go into effect on May 1.
According to the press release, the service standard for 32 percent of First-Class Packages “will increase by one or two days,” while the service standard for 64 percent of package volume will be unchanged. Finally, the agency said that the standard service will be one day sooner, moving from three days to two days, for 4 percent of First-Class Package Service.
The agency is also removing an extra day for Priority Mail ground deliveries, which was put in place during the COVID pandemic. Instated in April 2020, the extra day was intended to give the USPS extra time for deliveries in light of global supply chain issues and employee availability. The extra day will stay in place for Priority Mail transported by air “until the reliability of our key providers improves,” the press release confirmed.
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As reported by The Wall Street Journal, slower delivery speeds also allow for the use of more ground transportation, such as trains and trucks, as opposed to an air network. The Postal Service said the changes are being implemented “to improve service reliability” by reducing the use of these contracted air networks, which incur more costs and also have reliability issues.
According to the USPS press release, this is part of the larger “Delivering for America” initiative, which encompasses the agency’s 10-year plan to “achieve financial stability and service excellence.”
“Modifying select service standards is a key growth element and enabler of our 10-year plan. This action will contribute to our cost savings efforts and improve our reliability across all product classes, including our growing package market,” Louis DeJoyPostmaster General and CEO of the USPS, said in the press release.
“By implementing the elements of our 10-year plan, we will deliver the consistent, reliable service that the American people and our customers expect and deserve and grow package volume, spurring revenue growth that can be invested back into the Postal Service,” Dejoy added .
While the plan to slow deliveries is in motion, the PRC was not sold on its effectiveness, Federal News Network reported. The regulator commented on the proposal in an advisory opinion published in Sept. 2021, noting that its “reasonableness” was relating on assessments of consumer preferences, as well as “its ability to achieve the modeled increases in reliability, cost savings, and efficiency. “
“Even if the Postal Service’s cost savings estimates prove to be accurate, the Commission’s analysis shows that the proposed changes would not substantially affect the Postal Service’s overall financial commission,” the regulator said.
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