Post office change means slower, more expensive mail for some packages

Sep 28, 2021, 6:27 PM
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A woman walks past mailboxes seen outside of a US Post Office in Washington, DC on August 17, 2020. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Changes to the way the United States Postal Service ships letters and packages could result in slower mail, at least for items traveling longer distances. 

Starting this Friday, all mail will be sent via ground transportation instead of by airplane.

Ground transport means potentially slower mail

David Rupert, Manager of USPS Strategic Communications for the Western-Pacific Area, would not comment for broadcast on KSL NewsRadio.  But he did send a general statement from the Postal Service:

Most First-Class Mail (61 percent) and Periodicals (93 percent) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.

The Postal Service will increase time‐in‐transit standards by 1 or 2 days for certain mail that are traveling longer distances. By doing so, the Postal Service can entrust its ground network to deliver more First-Class Mail, which will lead to greater consistency, reliability, and efficiency that benefits its customers.

According to the statement, the changes are part of the USPS’ “balanced and comprehensive Delivering for America Strategic Plan” to improve the reliability of mail service.  The agency said that this will help ensure a 95% service performance goal.

The switch to ground transportation was cleared by a regulatory commission. During their meeting, members of the commission said that most postal customers won’t notice a change.

Local mail not affected, but slower service expected nationally

The change by the USPS will not affect letters sent within a state.  Letters sent locally already come via truck.  For cards and letters sent out of state, the USPS provided these recommendations: 

  1. Plan ahead. For mail or correspondence that involves a deadline, the Postal Service encourages consumers to send their mail early. 
  2. When sending mail long distance, mail early. If it would take you more than a day to drive your mail to its destination, make sure to give your long-distance mail some extra time to travel with USPS.
  3. Keep mailing letters! The majority of First-Class Mail will be unaffected by the Postal Service’s new service standards. The new standards are intended to ensure that letters and mail will be delivered more reliably and consistently.

Holiday packages will cost more to send

Along with slower out-of-state deliveries, consumers can expect that packages will cost more to send.  At least temporarily.

The USPS is raising the cost between October 3 and December 26.  They say the cost hike corresponds to increased mail volume during the holiday season.

All packages now incur extra surcharges.  So, you will pay between $.25 to $5 extra depending on how far the package is traveling and what size it is.

Last year the extra cost was only for commercial customers.  Now individuals will also pay the surcharge.

Read more: 

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Post office change means slower, more expensive mail for some packages