The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday that it will end Saturday mail delivery in order to significantly cut costs as the agency struggles with increasing debt.
For the past 30 years, Congress has overseen the otherwise independent agency and has included a provision insisting on Saturday delivery. Still standing, that provision leaves some on Capital Hill confused about the announcement Wednesday.
Under the proposal, the Postal Service will continue to deliver packages six days a week. Mail will be delivered Monday-Friday.
The new delivery schedule, beginning in August, will save an estimated $2 billion according to Postal Service research.
Materials prepared for the Wednesday press conference by Patrick R. Donahoe, Postmaster General and CEO say that Postal Service market research has indicated that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to a five-day delivery as a way to reduce costs.
“The Postal Service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mailing habits,” Donahoe said in a statement prepared for the announcement. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”
As the new plan begins, mail would still deliver to post office boxes on Saturdays and post offices that are now open on Saturdays would remain open on Saturdays.
Over the past few years, the Postal Service has advocated a five-day mail and package delivery service to Congress but the proposal has been rejected each time. Although subject to Congressional control, the Postal Service is a self sufficient agency that does not receive any tax dollars for its day-to-day operations.