Revised USPS five-day delivery plan keeps branches open, some Saturday processing

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Under its revised plan to cut mail delivery to five days a week, the US Postal Service would eliminate delivery to street addresses and some processing on Saturday, but it would not close post offices. The plan requires Congressional action to be enacted.

The USPS' revised plan was influenced by nearly 40 meetings with stakeholder groups, Sam Pulcrano, VP of sustainability at the Postal Service, told attendees of the quarterly Mailers Technical Advisory Committee meeting this week.

The agency made significant changes in response to business mailers, notably that it would continue to process remittance mail on Saturdays. The USPS' original five-day delivery plan called for shutting down processing on Saturdays and Sundays. After revisions, the Postal Service anticipates its annual savings would be about $3 billion.

“We will put back in some processing, transportation and maintenance so we can process remittance mail seven days a week,” said Pulcrano, who is overseeing the USPS' plan to transition to five-day delivery. Remittance mail includes payments from customers to businesses as well as checks that banks send each other. Cutting Saturday processing would have meant that checks would not move for two days.

The revised plan also calls for the USPS to continue to accept bulk business mail at plants on weekends. Mail will continue to be transported between processing plants on Saturdays as well, Pulcrano noted. However, the USPS would not process originating mail, which is mail entered at a post office facility, until Mondays, he said.

Under the revised plan, the Postal Service would deliver and process Express Mail seven days a week, but eliminate Saturday delivery of Priority Mail. Pulcrano acknowledged that the USPS is considering a different type of Priority Mail product offered six days a week, but it has not finalized the idea.

Pulcrano added that customers were confused about the USPS plan, which never called for eliminating post office hours on Saturday. He said that congressional and consumer education are key to the plan's acceptance.

If Congress, and other groups such as the Postal Regulatory Commission, were to approve the plan, it would be implemented by mid-2011 at the earliest.

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