NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Days Are Numbered for Saturday Mail Delivery

July 22, 2011

Falling mail volume and soaring red ink may soon doom Saturday mail delivery and prompt three-day-a-week delivery within 15 years, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe warns, says USA Today.

  • Donahoe's forecast is based on a projected $8.3 billion loss this year as the drift from paper to electronic communication hammers the Postal Service.
  • "On Sept. 30," he told USA Today, "I won't be able to pay my bills."
  • Chief among them: a $5.5 billion payment due Sept. 30 to cover future retirees' health benefits.
  • Mail carriers have been making rounds six days a week since the 19th century.
  • After postmasters started talking about cutting back, Congress mandated the six-day delivery in 1983.
  • The Postal Service estimates stopping Saturday mail delivery would save $3.1 billion a year.

Asked about the long term, Donahoe said, "At some point, we'll have to move to three" days a week of mail delivery, possibly in 15 years.

Source: Carly Mallenbaum, "Postmaster Says Days Are Numbered for Saturday Mail Delivery," USA Today, July 20, 2011.

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