Postal Service Moves to End Saturday Delivery

BY jbreslow  March 2, 2010 at 6:05 PM EST

Neither snow nor rain will stop the mail, but red ink might. Facing as much as $238 billion in losses over the next decade, the Postal Service announced Tuesday it will move to scale back its delivery schedule to five days a week starting in 2011.

Ending Saturday mail delivery is just one cost-cutting measure Postmaster General John Potter plans to propose to postal regulators later this month. Under a restructuring plan expected for submission to the U.S. Postal Regulatory Commission, postal customers could also face higher postage rates as well as longer delivery times.

The Postal Service’s troubles predate the recession. With Americans increasingly moving toward e-mail and online bill payment, the Postal Service has seen volume drop in each of the last three years. In 2009, it lost $3.8 billion as volume dipped 13 percent. By 2020, the Postal Service expects volume to plunge another 37 percent.

“The projections going forward are not bright,” Potter told reporters during a media briefing Tuesday. But, he added, “we can right this ship.”

Any changes to the Postal Service’s delivery schedule will ultimately require the consent of Congress, as USA Today reminds.

On tonight’s PBS NewsHour, Jeffrey Brown will speak with the Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe, and Frank Wolak of Stanford University, about the challenges facing the Postal Service.