Changes ahead

Published 8:20 pm Friday, February 8, 2013

The United States Postal Service has announced plans to cut back their home delivery service from six days a week to five, eliminating Saturdays in order to save money. But is that the best course of action in the eyes of the public?

During a press conference held Wednesday, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe announced the United States Postal Service will cut their mail delivery from six to five days a week, eliminating Saturday service beginning the week of Aug. 5, 2013.

Donahoe said package delivery will continue six days a week, but explained eliminating Saturday mail service is expected to generate a cost savings of approximately $2 billion annually from the postal service, which is already hemorrhaging money.

“I think anyone that’s followed the postal service over the past couple of years knows that we’ve been consistently advancing this idea of making changes to our delivery schedule,” Danahoe said. “It’s an important part of our strategy for returning back to financial stability.”

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Donahoe said the USPS, which has been consistently closing post offices, especially rural locations, over the last few years has suffered financially in the wake of the online boom.

“Since 2008, we’ve seen a steady decline in the use of first-class mail,” he said. “That’s our most profitable product. It generates the most revenue. But, people pay their bills online. It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s free. You cannot beat free.”

With the change in delivery services only months away, concerns have been expressed, but many Atmore residents think the USPS should do what they can to remain relevant.

Lindsey Beasley just moved to Atmore last month from Pensacola. She said she will not notice that much of a change when the new system kicks in.

“I think it’s fine if it saves them money,” Beasley said. “I don’t really use the post office that much, but if they are going to close on Saturdays, there are a lot of people that work during the week. Maybe they could close on Wednesdays and give those people a chance to use it on Saturdays.”

As of now, the USPS message says Beasley can rest assured that post offices that are open on Saturdays will remain so, but will no longer process mail until the start of the new work week. Package delivery and delivery to P.O. boxes will also remain functional.

So what exactly does the change mean? First-class mail service, that is mail items weighing up to 13 ounces, will no longer be processed, sent or delivered on Saturdays.

Local business owner, Latisha Henderson, also said the change will not impact her in any significant way.

“I usually check my mail late on Saturdays, so it wouldn’t really matter to me,” she said.

“Makes sense to me,” Casey Slate Gipson commented.

But is the USPS’ move a done deal? While the postal service is an independent establishment of the federal government’s executive branch, questions have been raised about whether or not Congress must approve the move, although USPS officials insist they have the authority to make such a call.

Only time will tell as to whether or not the new system will be put into place, but the USPS has released information claiming other alternatives to dropping Saturday mail delivery includes significantly raising the price of stamps.

The United States Postal Service receives no federal funding and is dependent solely on the sale of “postal products,” such as stamps.