The United States Postal Service (USPS) has stopped delivering mail on Saturdays, but will keep delivering packages six days a week. The financially struggling government agency aims to save $2 billion annually with the plan.
The official announcement is scheduled to be made late Wednesday. The Saturday mail delivery cutbacks would become effective starting August this year.
Post offices will still be open on Saturdays, allowing customers to buy postage stamps, drop off mail and packages and check their post office boxes. However, hours would be reduced at thousands of smaller centers.
Officials said that delivery of snail mail and letters has declined due to increasing use of email and social networks. It has caused USPS to lose about $42,335,766 per day from January to August 2012. But package delivery is up 14 percent since 2010, and the move emphasizes this point.
The Washington D.C.-area spokesperson for USPS, George Maffett said the agency is going to issue a five-year restructuring plan in March this year. However, he didn’t confirm the Saturday mail stopping. “We continue to seek legislation to provide the Postal Service with greater flexibility to control costs and generate new revenue,” he said.
The Postal Service has been trying to shift to a five-day delivery schedule for several years, and it has unsuccessfully appealed to Congress many times to approve the move. USPS is an independent agency which doesn’t get tax dollars for its routine operations, but is still under the control of Congress.
It is still unclear how the Postal Service can eliminate Saturday mailing without the approval of Congress. However, the agency thinks most of the American public will support the change. Patrick R. Donahoe, chief executive of the Postal Service, is set to reveal market research that shows that 7 in every 10 American supports five-day delivery. The Washington Post said that USPS will argue late Wednesday that it doesn’t need congressional approval to halt Saturday delivery.