You’ve got mail? Not on Saturday

Published 12:48 am Thursday, February 7, 2013

The postmaster general announced Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service intends to halt Saturday delivery of most mailers, letters and catalogs in August, ending a 150-year tradition.

“We are simply not in a financial position where we can continue to make six-day letter delivery,” Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO. Expected to save $2 billion annually, Donahoe called the decision “too big of a cost savings for us to ignore.”

The plan to shrink delivery from six days a week to five would only affect first-class mail, while packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still be delivered on Saturdays.

Donahoe said the move to end Saturday delivery was part of a five-year plan to return the agency to profitability.

Star-News Facebook followers had mixed opinions about the announcement, while the majority agreed with the decision.

“I think they (Postal Service) are being responsible and their carriers most deservedly need a break,” said Judy Henley. “Cost of stamps has risen at least 30 cent in my lifetime thus far. So any cut back is welcomed by me any day. Also thank you to all postal workers for the job you do!”

Lomax Tomlin, Sherry Bowers and Gary Strickland all agreed “it should have happened a long time ago.”

However, Justin Garrett described the decision as “dumb.”

The agency, which lost $16 billion last year, has blamed much of its recent troubles on a 2006 law that requires it to make massive payments into its future retirees’ healthcare fund, as well as on reduced mail volumes as Americans increasingly turn to email and online communications rather than dropping a stamped letter in a postal box.

Some experts have previously estimated that the Postal Service could run out of cash by October.

Donahoe said the changes would allow the Postal Service to continue benefiting from the growing package delivery business as Americans order more products from websites such as eBay Inc and Inc.

Package deliveries were a bright spot in a bleak 2012 fiscal year, with package revenue rising 8.7 percent during the year.