No Saturday mail beats another price increase
March 11, 2010
By Editorial Board
The United States Postal Service is projecting a $7 billion loss this year, and the picture looks even bleaker in the coming decade. Cutting Saturday delivery is a controversial cost-saving proposal for many. It shouldn’t be.
The postal service has come a long way to meet its business’ changing profile. New technology has reduced the number of employees. New products have been added for customer convenience. Stamps are now available at retail outlets and online. Local post offices now handle passport services. The USPS Web site is user-friendly.
Still, the American public has come to rely on e-mail for its correspondence and electronic bill paying. Only four years ago, the post office was delivering 213 billion pieces of mail, down to 177 billion last year. Mail volume is expected to shrink to 150 billion by 2020.
The idea of cutting Saturday delivery has been discussed for a year or more. It takes Congressional approval for that to happen, but Congress should not hesitate.
The loss of Saturday delivery has one real advantage — security. While many homeowners have gone to locked mailboxes, most have not. A weekend get-away for homeowners means mail waits to be picked up — or snatched by thieves.
We would hope that if Saturday delivery is suspended, mail would still be picked up at drop boxes and routed through the system. There should also continue to be Saturday hours at Snoqualmie Valley’s post offices, although hours could be cut back.
Americans would rather see some postal services — like Saturday delivery — curtailed, rather than see stamp prices go up again, according to a USA Today/Gallup poll. We couldn’t agree more. Suggested price hikes would make today’s 44-cent stamp become 50 cents by 2012 — more reason than ever to use electronic delivery services, thereby cutting USPS revenues even more.
The world must adapt to a new reality, and USPS is willing. Congress needs to approve stopping Saturday delivery.