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Coming this fall: United States Postal Service plans mail slowdowns to cut costs

Posted at 3:29 PM, Aug 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-12 15:29:00-04

(WSYM) — Starting October 1, some first-class mail will take longer to get to your mailbox.

The United States Postal Service recently finalized the plan to slow down service as a way to cut costs. The move comes after USPS posted a $3 billion net loss in the second quarter of this year.

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USPS delays effective October 1
USPS delays effective October 1

It's part of a plan by the postmaster general to cut $160 billion over the next decade. Also, August 29, the price of a first-class postage stamp is increasing to 58 cents from 55 cents.

Hearing the news of an intentional slow down in delivery service has some USPS customers thinking it's a step backwards.

Detroit resident Donson McCann
Detroit resident Donson McCann

"They already call mail snail mail," said Detroiter Donson McCann.

Now some first-class mail and periodicals are going to arrive a little later in some instances, according to the USPS.The current one to three day service will lengthen to one to five days.

"I think it's taking a lot time already. So I'm not sure that's going to be something new," said Detroiter Delisle Horton-Willis.

The USPS states: "Most first-class mail (61 percent) would stay at its current standard, and overall 70 percent of first-class mail would be subject to a standard of 3 days or less, consistent with the current standards within the contiguous United States."

Postmaster General Louis Dejoy proposed cuts in March to save billions of dollars by 2031.

Graph courtesy Associated Press

"It's a government branch where it should be top service. Not limited service. Ya know, everything is hurry up and wait nowadays," said McCann.

"The mail is already slow ... a lot of people depend on the mail. A lot of people need the mail. So I think that'll be not a good thing," said Detroiter Malcolm Strickland.

The USPS plan
The USPS plan

To these kinds of concerns and comments, USPS states in the plan that "...The comments do not present any compelling explanation for why adding a day or two to a minority of first class mail and end-to-end periodicals volume would make postal services insufficiently speedy, let alone negate the benefits of enhanced reliability, cost effectiveness, and financial sustainability that will inure to all."

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But some residents note disruption in mail service during the pandemic, where they had to go pick up letters at the post office themselves.

"They delivered packages but not letters," said Detroiter June Henderson. "It seems like they came when they saw the water bill or the DTE bill, that's when you got your rubber band full of mail."

Detroit resident June Henderson
Detroit resident June Henderson

What won't change? Package deliveries and that includes prescription medications and food.

The USPS says delays generally impact mail that has a further distance to travel.

Revised Service Standards for Market-Dominant Mail Products by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd