Monday, December 5, 2011

Mail Slowdown Forces USPS Slowdown

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is about to propose a slowdown in mail processing. This would mainly affect first class mail. Instead of being delivered within 3 days, usually in 1, first class mail will be delivered within 5 days under the new plan, and usually in 2 or 3.

The way I see it, this is a prudent step toward reducing the frequency of mail delivery. With the USPS months away from running out of money, and its biggest customer, the United States government, also having to cut back, mail delivery will surely soon be cut back to 3 days a week instead of the current 5 or 6. In the long run, 20 or 30 years out, I believe it will have to be 1 day a week.

The volume of mail has dropped 20 percent from its peak and will inexorably drop to less than one fourth of current levels. Raising postage rates across the board would accelerate the decline in mail volume, as it has done already. The USPS will have to cut costs, and quickly, and that mainly means cutting back on the level of service.