Mail delivery slowdown: USPS to slow delivery starting October 1

CBS News

Mail delivery for many Americans will slow starting on Friday, part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s blueprint for overhauling the U.S. Postal Service in order to slash costs. But critics say the slower delivery standards could cause problems such as late bill delivery while more broadly undermining the public’s faith in the USPS.

Almost 4 of 10 pieces of first-class mail will see slower delivery, according to Paul Steidler, senior fellow at the Lexington Institute and an expert on the postal service. That “means mail delivery will be slower than in the 1970s,” he said, calling DeJoy’s plan “disastrous.” 

Starting tomorrow, the postal service’s current three-day delivery standard for first-class mail — letters, bills, tax documents and the like — will drop to delivery anywhere within the U.S. within five days. In other words, Americans should now expect that letters and other mail could take up to five days to reach their destinations, and vice versa.

The USPS will continue to have a two-day delivery standard for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area, a USPS spokeswoman said, adding that the postal service has improved its delivery standards in 2021.

“The postal service has shown steady improvements for all first-class mail, marketing and periodical mail categories over the last seven months,” she said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch. “We have worked tirelessly to overcome challenges from recent storms and continue to recruit thousands of employees for the upcoming holiday peak season.”

But critics like Steidler say people in rural areas, the disabled and the elderly will feel the effects of the new mail delivery standards. “It’s the least fortunate who will be hurt hardest by this,” he said. “Everything in American society is getting faster, it seems, except for the mail delivery — which is now going to get slower.”

It’s possible that people who are paying their bills by mail and not prepared for the change could incur late fees, for instance, if their checks don’t arrive on time. Others may face longer delivery times for important documents such as tax forms or passports. The change could further undermine customers’ faith in the U.S. Postal Service, which took a hit in 2020 when delivery delays snarled everything from prescription medication to election ballots, experts say.

$160 billion projected loss

The USPS contends that its 10-year plan is necessary to erase a projected $160 billion loss over the next decade. The effort aims to boost revenue through expanded parcel delivery and postage hikes, with the latest postage increase having gone into effect in August.

But the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the federal regulator that oversees the USPS, earlier this year questioned if the postal service’s plan to slow delivery standards would save money.

“Reducing service will only discourage use of the U.S. Mail, which is not a formula for long-term financial health and stability,” said Christopher W. Shaw, the author of the forthcoming book “First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy and the Corporate Threat,” in an emailed statement.

Slower delivery for Western states

Among the regions that will feel the greatest impact are Western states like California and Nevada, as well as Florida, according to a Washington Post analysis of the USPS delivery changes earlier this year. Other pockets across the nation will also suffer from slower delivery times, according to an analysis from Steve Hutkins, a retired New York University professor who runs a blog called Save the Post Office.

Earlier this year, a group of 21 state attorneys general asked the PRC to reject the USPS’ plan to slow deliveries, calling it a “misguided effort” that would harm election mail and mailings of essential documents such as passports. They also said the slowdown would have a disproportionate impact on the elderly, rural residents and the disabled.

The USPS on Monday said consumers should expect “a day or two of transit time” added for some first-class mail and magazines “traveling the greatest distances.”

“We’ll make better use of our trucks and existing surface network to move the mail, relying less on costly air transportation,” the agency said in a statement. “By improving service reliability and increasing efficiency, we can keep costs at reasonable levels and help keep postage rates affordable for our customers.”

That might help the USPS’ bottom line, but consumers should be aware that their mail could take longer to reach their destinations — and that the change is permanent, unless Congress gets involved or attorneys general sue the USPS, experts said.

“When you reduce standards you perpetuate a vicious downward cycle,” Steidler said. “You tell people you can take your time delivering it. It causes people to lose confidence in the mail.”

15 thoughts on “Mail delivery slowdown: USPS to slow delivery starting October 1

  1. Is this to discourage paying bills by snail-mail as opposed to paying on-line where all is monitored and vulnerabl? Or worse yet, is it to allow more time for more surveillance of our mail, more snooping? And “passports will be slowed down.” Yes, please stay put, and be a good puppy. They’re always frikkin’ up to something.


    1. Thank you, Galen! I’ve been thinking the same thing for months… For one thing, our ATT phone payments (believe it or not we still use landline!) NEVER arrived for our July payments and our August bills were double with late fees because the “mail hub in Midland-Odessa has issues with distribution” (which is why Jeff Bezos has stopped using Midland-Odessa for Amazon mail and package deliveries and now uses the hub in Lubbock, which is at least 200 miles north of Midland Odessa)… and then we sent our son a B-day with a check in it and he never got it (so we sent another one by CERTIFIED MAIL!)…and of course we had to pay a $30 check cancellation fee! Sheesh!

      But sorry, hackers, we are NOT using online bill pay! Too bad! Hack someone else’s accounts!

      1. You’re welcome, DL. I often wonder why some so easily go along with all this and why some resolutely do not. I ask myself if it was mind-expansion substances? But there are some who never partook yet see the bs. Just curious to see if there is a definitive dividing factor. Most of my college friends who were with me in questioning the world, the “authorities,” have now become what they were fighting. Well, maybe it was just television. Sigh…


  2. Wasn’t it the IRS thats want to review any transaction over $600!!!They can only rob you… Thats why they exist!!! THIEVES ARE THIEVES…. No in between.

  3. On another topic. What does Kosher mean??? food, or premises in which food is sold, cooked, or eaten) satisfying the requirements of Jewish law. NOW WTF sucking the Kosher sausage !!!! DONT GET KOSHER!!! GET GRASS FED COW FU

    1. Was eatin some dill pickles and noticed the kosher sign on the jar … Fugg.!! IF i swallow anything evil, put your finger down my throat. How much food is now certified Kosher?? WTF

      1. My ex bro in law was repairing a bread manufacturing conveyor line.They made sure to tell him any time over the allotted down time would cost the company 10k@ minute. He completed task and went to test run/restart the line by pushing “the button”. They made him wait for the rabbi to arrive to push it. That’s what made that bread “kosher”.

  4. Well if this is the case
    Than every utility or service needs to suck it up when my check is late
    Not my problem
    Not my fault
    Guess they are going to have to learn to suck it up like we all have been doing for decades
    If the invoice doesn’t get to me on time to pay it
    I’m not going to worry about it
    And you can KMA on any late fees
    Again not my doing , not my problem
    Bout time they figure it out
    I’m not going paperless and I’m not going auto pay
    I’m not giving any of these thieves access to my bank accounts
    They can wait for their dam check when they submit to me what I owe
    Tuff shit

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