Pike County residents react to no mail on Saturday

Published 6:42 pm Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The United States Post Office has announced plans to no longer deliver letter mail on Saturdays in order to generate a cost savings of about $2 billion annually, according to the USPS.

The idea of shifting to a five-day delivery schedule has been on the table for the last few years, but with the new schedule, the USPS will continue to deliver packages on Saturday.

“We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings,” said Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.

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The new delivery schedule will be implemented in August. In addition to package deliveries on Saturdays, mail addressed to PO Boxes will also continue to be delivered. Post Offices currently open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays.

Market research by the USPS, independent research and major news organizations indicated that nearly 70 percent of Americans supported the switch to five-day delivery as a way to reduce costs and regain financial stability, according to information provided by the USPS.

And Pike County residents seem to agree.

“It’s fine with me as long as I still get my mail on Monday through Friday,” said Betty Siler, of Troy. “It’s more convenient for the Post Office because now they do not have to work as much on Saturdays.”

Shirley Wright, also of Troy, said that the switch really doesn’t bother her.

“It’s just one day I will not receive any junk mail,” Wright said.

Charles Stark is from Idaho, but visits Pike County during the winter. He said any cutbacks that end a waste of money “are great.” Stark went as far to say the USPS is unnecessary because companies such as FedEx and UPS are more efficient.

But not everyone is on board with the plan.

The president of the National Association of Letter Carriers, Fredric Rolando, said the cutback is “a disastrous idea that would have a profoundly negative effect on the Postal Service and on millions of customers,” particularly businesses, rural communities, the elderly, the disabled and others who depend on Saturday delivery for commerce and communication.

Prior to the five-day delivery plan, the Postal Service decreased costs by $15 by reducing employees by 193,000 and consolidating more than 200 mail processing locations.

The financial losses for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30 were more than triple the $5.1 billion loss in the previous year. Having reached its borrowing limit, the mail agency is operating with little cash on hand.

The Postal Service reports the mail delivery service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services.

The USPS is asking the 113th Congress to make postal reform legislation to control costs and generate new revenue.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.