Postal Service increases prices, cutting service

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In a effort to alleviate increasing financial losses, The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently increased the price of a stamp and announced another cost cutting plan. The cost of mailing a first-class letter went up by a penny, to 46 cents, while the price of a postcard increased from 32 cents to 33 cents. They have also introduced a new global “forever” stamp which allows customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10. Currently, the prices for international letters vary.

The stamp price increase will make only a small dent in the U.S. Postal Service’s financial losses of $15.9 billion, however other changes are expected to help deal with losses. One of the cost cutting measures is reducing services.

Having already cut hours of operation for some post office locations, including Williamston, the USPS recently announced that it plans to cut mail delivery on Saturdays.

The transition to a new delivery schedule will take place during the week of Aug. 5. The new schedule includes package delivery Monday through Saturday, however home mail delivery will only be available Monday through Friday. The Postal Service expects to generate cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually, once the plan is fully implemented, officials said in a news 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 mailing habits,” said Patrick Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO. “We developed this approach by working with our customers to understand their delivery needs and by identifying creative ways to generate significant cost savings.”

Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages. However, recent strong growth in package delivery (14 percent 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 per week.

Mail addressed to PO Boxes will continue to be delivered on Saturdays and Post Offices currently open on Saturdays will remain open on Saturdays, officials said.

The Postal Service made the announcement, more than six months in advance of cutting Saturday mail delivery to give residential and business customers time to plan and adjust, postal officials said.

The Postal Service is currently implementing major restructuring throughout its retail, delivery and mail processing operations. Since 2006, the Postal Service has reduced its annual cost base by approximately $15 billion, reduced the size of its career workforce by 193,000 or 28 percent, and has consolidated more than 200 mail processing locations. During these unprecedented initiatives, the Postal Service says it continued to deliver record high levels of service to its customers.