Postal Service to Slow Delivery Starting Friday

Experts, officials worry about effects on people who rely on the mail
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2021 7:05 PM CDT
Updated Oct 1, 2021 12:02 AM CDT
Postal Service to Slow Delivery, Starting Friday
A US Postal Service carrier delivers the mail Tuesday in Mount Lebanon, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's long-argued overhaul of mail delivery is here. Starting Friday, the Postal Service will be in less of a hurry to bring the mail, part of DeJoy's 10-year plan to cut costs and hold prices down, CBS reports. The Postal Service, which is looking at billions in losses over the next decade, is shifting its delivery goal from three days to five for first-class mail in the US. One analysis found that means that nearly 4 in 10 pieces of mail will be slowed up as trucks are used more and air transportation less. "Everything in American society is getting faster, it seems, except for the mail delivery—which is now going to get slower," an expert said.

A spokeswoman said the change mostly will affect mail going far; first-class delivery in a local area is supposed to stay at two days, per CNN. Experts and governments remain critical. "It's the least fortunate who will be hurt hardest by this," said Paul Steidler, a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute who tracks the Postal Service. People who live in rural areas could be waiting for checks, bills, and other important mail, and the elderly and disabled could have trouble dealing with the changes. One senator said he was concerned about the effects on people who rely on the mail "for prescription drugs, financial documents, running their small businesses and more." The scheme was opposed by 21 state attorneys general.

The changes, also intended to accommodate the shift from moving letters to packages, could cause people to lose faith in the system. "Reducing service will only discourage use of the US Mail, which is not a formula for long-term financial health and stability," said Christopher Shaw, who just wrote First Class: The US Postal Service, Democracy and the Corporate Threat. Reducing standards can trigger a downward cycle, Steidler said, lamenting that "mail delivery will be slower than in the 1970s." (More US Postal Service stories.)

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