Mail Service Cut Looks Less Likely

The chances that the U.S.Postal Service will be allowed to reduce its delivery days to five from six each week are growing slim.

Postmaster General John E. Potter asked Congress for that flexibility as a last resort to save money in the face of tumbling mail volume and revenue. It wasn’t a welcome suggestion when he testified before a Senate subcommittee Wednesday and now comes word that a key member of Congress will block the request.

The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that controls the budget of the U.S. Postal Service says no way. Rep. Jose E. Serrano, a Bronx Democrat, said “I will retain the prohibition on service cuts in my bill.”

Note the lack of any “we” or “the Congress” in his comment. Subcommittee chairman of the House Appropriation Committee are often called “cardinals” because of their power. Cardinal Serrano has made it clear that he will use that power to maintain six-day deliveries.

“People depend on regular mail delivery and would be greatly inconvenienced by missing a day’s delivery,” he said. “The Postal Service must manage its operations in ways that will not cause consumers to miss out on mail service.”

By Sara Goo  |  January 29, 2009; 4:30 PM ET  | Category:  Postal Service
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The average person can help bring the postal service back into the black by sending back the postage-paid reply envelopes that come in the junk mail. This is high-margin business for the USPS and will help transfer much needed revenue from the likes of credit card companies to the post office.

Posted by: pondcove | January 29, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like cardinal Serrano went Postal....

One day delivery delay will not have a big effect if they take off a day from delivery. But I do feel they still need to keep the post office open even on non delivery days for people who need to pick up or send packages where they do not have to miss work to do that.

Posted by: djp98374 | January 29, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

By cutting back a day of service, USPS would really be shooting itself in the foot. That is, USPS drives businesses and individuals to find alternative ways to transfer information. The problem is that USPS hasn't kept up with the electronic age. It still thinks of itself as a letter and package service instead of seeing itself in the business of transporting or transmitting secure information from one site to another. Until it begins to examine the market for places it can still provide a better service, the rest of us will be looking for ways to avoid the Post Office since we can't get 6-day service and they are never open when we need them to be. Maybe, USPS ought to be looking for a way to beef up security in transferring documents and packages, whether they are electronic or hand delivered.

Posted by: labech | January 29, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm for three deliveries a week. When was the last time you got something by 'snail mail' that it mattered if you got it that day or the next ?

Posted by: sampjack | January 29, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

We are used to this service and it is going to be hard to break us from it. Having said that, the USPS needs a real paradigm shift to see where we are all going. They can have electronic funds transfer like Western Union, they can embrace the digital age or be pushed aside by it. The best would be a merger of the old (regular mail delivery) and the newer ways of communicating. Remember when the mailman came to every home? Now they go to banks of boxes and do 20 homes in one fell swoop. And many homes with a mail box on the house now have one out at the street. The rates go up and the services decrease. Hmmm Something's out of kilter here. They had better adapt to the here and now and the prepare for the future or they will be like green stamps!

Posted by: jwkoest | January 29, 2009 10:32 PM | Report abuse

What a total shame that the managers of our postal service cannot bring themselves to do their jobs.

I have been highly satisfied with the "performance" of postal workers and the postal system. I hate it when people speak perjoratively about our mail system as if it is an entitlement to dump on good people doing their jobs.

But, with managers like the ones we've had, it is a wonder that we get any mail at all. I'm disgusted. These guys are a disgrace.

Posted by: dorafacol1 | January 30, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

The PO complained that declining volumes in periodical mail (magazines, newspapers) is part of their revenue problem. But what they don't recognize is that they contribute to it, forcing even further the shift to online because of their cuts in delivery service. Our weekly paper used to reach our readers a 200 mile away within 2-3 days. Now it regularly takes a week, at least.

Posted by: xcoto | January 30, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

dorafacol1 hit the nail on the head...The post office complains that labor is the highest cost but continually adds procedures to deliver the mail. At every stop we must of course turn off the engine, curb the wheels, put on the emergency brake, remove the key from the ignition switch, oh and grab the mail to be delivered....all to possibly save a couple of dollars on accidents....of course spending 10's of thousands to do this....

Posted by: TheOne4 | January 30, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

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