Calling the six-days-per-week mail delivery business model “no longer sustainable,” the U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday it will eliminate Saturday delivery of mail during the week of Aug. 5.
The plan to change delivery from six days a week to five would only affect the street delivery of first-class mail. Packages, mail-order medicines, priority and express mail would still be delivered on Saturdays, and local post offices will remain open for business Saturdays.
USPS spokesperson George Flood said most Americans support the transition.
"We have done a lot of market research, and there has been some independent research," said Flood, "... that indicates seven out of 10 Americans supported the switch to the five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs and to keep our organization on track to financial stability."
A USA Today/Gallup poll in 2010 also found a majority of U.S. residents were in support of eliminating Saturday delivery.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, the reasons are continued economic struggles and the increasing use of the Internet for communications and bill paying by consumers. The Postal Service is also the only federal agency required to pre-fund health benefits for retirees, and those costs are escalating quickly.
“Our current business model of delivering mail six days a week is no longer sustainable. We must change in order to remain an integral part of the American community for decades to come," according to the USPS.
The USPS has seen a decline in overall mail distribution year after year, said Flood. In 2006, the USPS handled around 211 pieces of mail. That figure has since dipped to about 150 billion pieces of mail handled in 2012, down again from 165 billion the year before.
However, Flood said the USPS did see an increase in its package delivery in 2012.
Saturday is the lightest mail delivery day by volume and many businesses are closed on Saturdays, according to the USPS. However, many residents receive print magazines and ads on Saturdays in the mail that may be shifted to another day.
West Caldwell resident Dorothy Rosa was surprised to learn about the cuts in services Wednesday.
"I don’t mind if they are trying to run a more efficient corporation," Rosa said, "but what I would prefer with any organization is that they would try to cut the spending from within instead of first affecting the consumer."
Rosa added, "To me it sounds like the same problems we have in Washington. It’s the same as with any political issue. They hit the taxpayers."
Shari Bricker, of Caldwell, said on Wednesday afternoon she wasn't concerned about losing the Saturday service.
Bricker said, "I guess I could live without it."
Teresa Akersten contributed to this article.
Let your neighbors know how you feel about the Postal Service's move to a five-day delivery week.