The holiday season is almost upon us. And if you’re planning on mailing out holiday gifts via the United States Postal Service this year, you’ll definitely want to read this.
Just in time for the holidays, mail delivery is about to get a lot slower. What’s more, snail mail service is also going to be more expensive.
New Service Standards
The U.S. Postal Service recently announced that they have implemented “new service standards” for both first class mail and periodicals. USPS spokesperson Kim Frum told NPR that these new standards mean that target delivery times have been slowed down by 30%.
Frum explained that some pieces of mail that are going across the country—or other long distances—will take longer to be delivered. However, she claims that these changes will not affect 61% of first-class mail and 93% of periodicals.
If you are sending out holiday cards, those are classified as single-piece first-class mail because it is smaller and lightweight. Those pieces of mail that are traveling in the same region will still have a two-day delivery time. But when it comes to first-class packages, Frum says their travel time will slow down, and the service will cost customers more.
A Holiday Price Increase
In addition to the slowed-down travel time, the postal service has also announced a temporary price increase. Between Oct. 3 and Dec. 26, Frum says that all “commercial and retail domestic packages” will cost more due to the holiday season. However, the price increase will not affect international products.
A New Mail Strategy
Back in March, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy announced the postal service’s 10-year strategic plan, which has the goal of greater “consistency, reliability, and efficiency” that will benefit customers. The plan combines investments in new tech, more training, and a new fleet of delivery vehicles.
“The need for the U.S. Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue,” DeJoy said when announcing the plan.
According to Frum, the USPS will also start using more ground transportation instead of air because it’s more reliable and cost-effective.
“With this change, we will improve service reliability and predictability for customers while also driving efficiencies across the Postal Service network,” she said.
All of these changes come as the post office continues to lose more and more money. For the second quarter ending June 30, the USPS reported a loss of $3 billion. That’s compared to the $2.2 billion it lost in the same quarter of 2020.