Americans who are already feeling the cost-cutting measures by the US Postal Services may notice additional changes to their mail today (Oct. 1). This is when the USPS will begin service changes that will slow down delivery. The USPS will also start imposing a holiday surcharge on all parcel returns and priority mail starting Oct. 3.
What will happen to me?
Standard service changes are applicable to regular mail, first-class, and periodicals like newspapers and magazines. If the mail is traveling beyond your area, delivery may take up to two additional days according to the USPS. Unlike in the past, first-class mail could be delivered anywhere within the country in three days. Now it can take up to five.
This slowdown is due to the USPS' decision to reduce its reliance on air transport in order to save money. According to the USPS, 43% of regular mail which was previously transported by planes will now be moved across the country via rail and truck.
The Postal Service will also slow down delivery and increase prices starting October 3. The holiday season surcharge will be in effect until Dec. 26th and can range from 30 cents up to $5, depending on the size of the package.
The latest surcharge is only one of a series price increases that the USPS has instituted under Louis DeJoys, postmaster general. In August, the federal agency increased the price of stamps by 55 cents to 58cs and raised regular mail prices 6.8%.
Why did this decision be made?
As Americans send less mail, the USPS has been in financial difficulties for many years. Between 2007 and 2020, the agency suffered losses of $87billion and accrued $188 in unfunded liabilities.
Trump appointed DeJoy to the Postal Service Board of Governors last May. He has proposed a 10-year plan that will make up the difference by raising prices and cutting costs. Also, Congress would repeal the mandate that the agency pay for healthcare costs for employees before retirement. To address financial problems, the agency has cut employee salaries before. Further cutting benefits could make it less attractive to a profession once considered reliable.
Despite the fact that DeJoys efforts have already been rebuffed by Democrats in Congress, the agency continues to make changes that don't require approval from Washington lawmakers. These changes will likely make mail delivery more expensive and slower for many Americans over the next few months.