USPS hopes to improve on-time deliveries--by lowering standards for delivery times

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- If you can't meet the expectation, change the expectation.

The United States Postal Service on Friday officially enacted its new delivery standards for nationwide service, which could mean delays of up to two days depending on mileage.

"Most First-Class Mail (61 percent) and periodicals (93 percent) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes," Philip Bogenberger, a USPS spokesman, said. "Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days."

The new service standards are part of the previously announced "Delivering For America" 10-year-plan unveiled earlier this year. USPS leaders project the plan will wipe out billions of dollars in debt by also reducing some operating hours and consolidating some processing facilities. The plan also projects substantial growth in revenues with an emphasis on packages, modernized equipment and new electric trucks.

"Whether it's 300 miles or 3,000 miles, the current standard for (First Class mail) requires 3-day service for any destination within the contiguous U.S. with a drive time greater than six hours. This is unattainable and forces us to overly rely on air transportation, yielding unreliable service. With this change of offering 2- to 5-day service based on distance, we will improve service reliability and predictability for customers, while also driving efficiencies across the Postal Service network," Bogenberger said. "These changes would position us to leverage more cost-effective means to transport First-Class packages via ground rather than using costly air transportation, which is also less reliable due to weather, flight traffic, availability constraints, competition for space, and the added hand-offs involved. Customers may still opt to use Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services to ship packages within the contiguous U.S. with a 1-to-3-day service standard."

While the new standards might be inconvenient for some, the impact could extend to more serious circumstances, including the more than 500,000 Americans collecting Social Security checks via mail, which includes more than 17,000 in North Carolina. Tens of millions of Americans also pay their rent via cash, check or money orders.

The effects could also ripple across the paper-heavy judicial system.

"The big one is the upcoming court dates," Steven Immelman, owner of Direct Legal Mail, LLC, which produces mailers for hundreds of attorneys across the country, said. "People have court dates coming up and they need to speak to their lawyer and they need to communicate with their lawyer. They need documents from their lawyer and they need those for court. If there's a two to three day delay, that can impact things."
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