Perhaps the long awaited announcement that was supposed to come out on January 16, the United States Postal Service finally announced a major potential change to its operations yesterday: no Tuesday delivery.
Massive deficits and declining mail circulation could force the USPS to cut delivery, John Potter, the postmaster general told Congress. Though many would first guess that Saturday delivery would be the first day to be cut from the current 5-day delivery schedule, Tuesday is typically the lowest-volume day of the week, and would thus be most vulnerable to cuts.
“It is possible that the cost of six-day delivery may simply prove to be unaffordable,” Potter said. “I reluctantly request that Congress remove the annual appropriation bill rider, first added in 1983, that requires the Postal Service to deliver mail six days each week.”
“The ability to suspend delivery on the lightest delivery days, for example, could save dollars in both our delivery and our processing and distribution networks. I do not make this request lightly, but I am forced to consider every option given the severity of our challenge,” Potter said.
An independent study from George Mason University last year estimated that moving from a six-day to a five-day delivery would save the post office about $1.9 billion annually. This may not be enough, though. Last year the post office was $2.8 billion in the red last year. “If current trends continue, we could experience a net loss of $6 billion or more this fiscal year,” Potter said in testimony for a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee.
The Postal Service will consider additional options as well, including further postage increases and limited the amount that it contributes to health benefits via advanced payments.