Regulator Says No-Mail Saturdays Not Done Deal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The struggling USPS is weighing the elimination of Saturday mail service.

    The U.S. Postal Service is facing a big deficit this year, but the chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission said in Dallas Monday that cutting Saturday mail service is far from certain.

    The commission, which oversees the agency, is holding public hearings in seven cities to hear comments from local government officials, businesses and people.

    The U.S. Postal Service is considering eliminating Saturday mail service, which would also cut about 49,000 jobs.

    Cutting service down to five days per week from six days would save USPS up to $3.1 billion in the first year, according to Tim Healy, vice president of retail and services. The could save the agency $5.1 billion per year by 2020.

    But PRC Chairwoman Ruth Goldway said postal service could suffer if Congress passes the measure.

    "Mail that was mailed in Dallas on a Friday that could be delivered on Saturday or Monday will now be delivered on a Monday or Tuesday," she said. "And you won’t be able to drop your mail in on Saturday and get it delivered in two days. It will be three days, so there will be service problems that we have to look at."

    The U.S. Postal Service has lost $12 billion in the past three years in spite of postage hikes, and its 10-year forecast looks grim. It is facing a $7 billion shortfall this year.

    Mail volume is down significantly. In 2006, the post office delivered 213 billion pieces of mail, but is only expected to deliver 177 billion pieces this year. In 2020, volume is projected to be as low as 115 billion pieces of mail.

    Some letter carriers said they think the eliminating Saturday service would be a mistake.

    "For my customers, I believe it's very important," said Mark Hendrickson, a Houston letter carrier. "We have retirees, people that plan to be home on Saturdays to receive prescription medicines."

    Others, however, said it would be the lesser of two evils.

    "I mean, it’s desperate times, and it calls for desperate measures," said Shelley Hyde, the owner and CEO of a NDSI Direct Solutions, a printing and mailing company. "So they would rather see a loss of one service day than see an increase in postage rates."

    The commission will give its recommendation to the USPS in October. Any

    The Postal Regulatory Commission will give its recommendation to the USPS in October. Congress will make the final decision.