United States Postal Service First Class mail, long recognized for speed and reliability considering the cost of a stamp, may slow due to cost-saving measures that may be put into place.
The postal service has experienced fast decline in First Class mail due to the Internet, as more people use e-mail and online bill pay instead. In the last five years, for example, First Class mail volume has dropped 25 percent, and single piece first class mail -- letters and such sent with a stamp -- has declined 50 percent in the past decade.
The financially beleaguered post office is expected to lose nearly $10 billion this year and Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has been lobbying Congress for approval to reduce the agency's overhead.
Among the latest considerations for cost-cutting measures is shutting down as many as 250 mail processing facilities, cutting mail processing equipment in half, and reducing the agency's national transportation network. The move will likely result in longer delivery times for First Class mail, officials say.
First-Class mail supports the organization and drives network requirements, (but) with the dramatic decline in mail volume and the resulting excess capacity, maintaining a vast national infrastructure is no longer realistic, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement on the considered changes.
The postal service plans to file a request for changes to current mail service standards including First Class delivery times with teh Postal Regulatory Commission this fall. Already, the postal service is studying closing 3,700 locations throughout the U.S., and the agency is nearing financial default, expected to miss a payment due to the federal government for future employee benefits on Sept. 30.
When Congress returned from recess on Sept. 6, Donahoe met with a Congressional committee looking into problems facing the agency -- which some have said could be forced to close by early next year if drastic measures aren't taken. President Barack Obama's administration has said it will seek to save the postal service from embarrassing default by getting an extra three months on the Sept. 30 $5.5 billion payment due while lawmakers try to find ways to save the agency.