Slower mail, fewer office hours part of Postal Service plans
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Tuesday announced plans to slow mail delivery standards and cut hours at some post offices as part of a 10-year strategy to stabilize the struggling agency.
Details of the long-awaited plan come at a time of intense scrutiny on the U.S. Postal Service over persistent delivery delays under Dejoy, a major GOP donor who took over the agency last summer. The plan also includes a proposal to consolidate underused post offices, hinted at a potential postage rate increase and detailed investments in new delivery vehicles, among other things.
Facing an expected $160 billion in losses over the next decade, DeJoy and postal executives stressed the need to cut costs and modernize the agency's operations as its workload increasingly shifts from handling letters to hauling more and more packages.
“This is about the long-term viability of the organization under the two missions that we have that are legislated, that is deliver to every house six days a week and be self-sustaining," DeJoy said. He announced the plans at a webinar with other postal service officials.
DeJoy said the biggest change would be a relaxing of the current first-class letter delivery standard of one-to-three-days to a one-to-five-day benchmark. Postal leadership said the longer timeframe would apply only to mail going to the farthest reaches of its network and that 70% of first-class mail will still be delivered within a three-day standard.
The agency said it will subject potential changes to delivery standards, as well as several other parts of their plan, to a formal rulemaking process and advisory opinions from the independent Postal Regulatory Commission before they go into effect.
Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat who has been critical of DeJoy, cautioned that any reduction of delivery standards would have a big...