Saturday mail delivery is coming to an end

The days of Saturday mail delivery will soon be gone, the U.S. Postal Service announced on Feb. 5.

The postal service plans to transition to a new delivery schedule beginning Aug. 5, 2013. The new schedule includes package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday. The purpose is to generate a $2-billion annual cost savings, the post office said in a release.

“The postal service is advancing an important new approach to delivery that reflects the strong growth of our package business and responds to the financial realities resulting from America’s changing mail habits,” said Patrick R. Donahue, postmaster general and CEO.

Over the past several years, the USPS has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. However, recent growth in package delivery (14% volume increase since 2010) and projections of continued strong package growth throughout the coming decade led to the revised approach to maintain package delivery six days a week, according to the release.

Maureen Marion, a U.S. Postal Service spokesperson, said the change is a “re-tooling” of postal operations and reflects what most customers consider critical for them.

Since 2006, said Ms. Marion, overall mail circulation has decreased by 20% to 25% while first class mail is down by one-third.

“It’s not just a change in the use of email, but a change in how the Internet has worked into our communications. We need to be right-sized for the way people use their mailboxes today. We still have an enormous volume of mail, but it is different than 10 years ago,” Ms. Marion said.

These deliveries will not require the same level of staff or vehicles as everyday mail delivery, Ms. Marion said. She said the mail service is not a tax-funded operation, but is paid for through mail service revenue.

Packages that will continue to be delivered on Saturdays include a wide range of items, from premium overnight express mail to priority boxes, to parcel post, to packages containing medication.

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