The United States Postal Service will be discontinuing Saturday mail service effective August 2013. The agency will still deliver packages, but in an effort to save money, Americans will be faced with a five-day delivery system. In an age where letters have been replaced by email, and bills can be paid with a click of a mouse, it appears that Americans will get by just fine without the weekend service.
The decision to end Saturday service will save the financially struggling agency an estimated $2 billion annually. The USPS made the announcement today at a press conference.
Contrary to popular belief, the USPS raises its own funds and does not receive tax-payer money. However, the federal budget is utilized to provide compensation to USPS employees. The latest strategy to cut costs is based on a $15.9 billion net loss for fiscal 2012 year. In a press release in November 2012, Postmaster General and CEO Patrick Donahoe urged Congress to come to the agency's aid.
“It’s critical that Congress do its part and pass comprehensive legislation before they adjourn this year to move the Postal Service further down the path toward financial health,” Donahoe said.
Just six months later the USPS announced their plans to cutback daytime window hours to keep thousands of small post offices in business. Since the announcement in Washington, the initiative has been underway and the two-year plan will be completed by September 2014.
Package delivery has steadily increased 14% since 2010, officials say. It comes as no surprise that mail has been on the decline since email is the preferred and instant form of communication. Public opinion may be in favor of the decision. Upon preparing for today’s conference, Donahoe mentioned that the USPS conducted market research and found that their data suggests that 7 out of 10 Americans support the five-day delivery change:
"The American public understands the financial challenges of the Postal Service and supports these steps as a responsible and reasonable approach to improving our financial situation. The Postal Service has a responsibility to take the steps necessary to return to long-term financial stability and ensure the continued affordability of the U.S. Mail."
This underfunded agency is accounting for societal changes and behavioral habits of Americans. Although this decision may prompt some disgruntled customers on not getting a birthday card mailed on time, the institution has taken a good first step toward getting its fiscal house in order.