Postal Service cuts to affect next day delivery

Dec 20, 2011

It’s something we’re used to – sending out a card or a thank you letter one day, and expecting it to get there the next. But that won't be so easy come this spring.

Forget that birthday? Running late on holiday cards? Need to pay that bill ASAP? That used to be something the Post Office could do. But come this spring, card-senders all over the country, including Central New York, won’t have that luxury anymore.

The U.S. Postal Service is facing bankruptcy. And to avoid it, they’re cutting their services. What it means for you is no more next-day mail.

 “Our proposal was to eliminate one-day service for letter mail,” said Postal Service Spokeswoman Maureen Marion. “We think that meets the needs of most Americans who have told us pretty routinely they don’t want tax dollars to support the post office, they are looking for mail to be regular and reliable, and that’s what this proposal does.”

The Postal Service says the move is a reaction to the way Americans are using mail these days.

“Things that you would have put a stamp on, put it in your mailbox, and hoisted the flag, now these are activities are happening on the internet,” said Marion.

But there’s some things you just can’t send through wires and web servers.

People who subscribe to services like Netflix depends on the postal service for their subscriptions.

“I mean if I were to mail one on a Wednesday morning and I didn’t have something until Saturday, I’d get kind of upset. Maybe Friday, it depends,” said Sofia Kathryn Coon, an avid Netflix subscriber in Syracuse.

To Sofia, having a Netflix subscription comes down to looking at the cost and benefit. But slower mail could throw a wrench in that equation.

“You have to think about how many DVD’s you watch a month,” said Coon. “I watch enough to make it worth my while rather than just going down to a movie store and renting a movie for the same price that it would. It still evens out that it’s cheaper for me to do it that way. But if it starts to take longer, that means that it’d cut 1-2 DVD’s off my ‘watchage’, I guess.”

And the Postal Service will tell you that the cuts are a wake-up call for everyone to adapt to the changing times.

 “I do believe that when people understand the expectations of the dates that are there, the difference between putting it in the mailbox on Tuesday or Wednesday should not be insurmountable,” said Marion. “We’re pretty good at that, most of us are pretty astute at making sure we do the right thing.”

Right now, about 40% of mail is delivered in just one day. But come spring, when the new cuts are set to take effect, that percentage will drop to zero. But the Postal Service is quick to point out that in most cases, mail isn’t expected to happen overnight.

Most of the time people are putting mail in the mailbox that could be a payment for a credit card in Delaware, or a mortgage payment to New Jersey or things of that nature, their long distance, their far away, and people know, it’s coming in a couple  days,” Marion said. “The household to household mail reflects on average only 5% of the total mail volume.”