PRC Chair: No Five-Day Postal Delivery Anytime Soon

Five-day mail delivery, if it ever happens, is a few years down the road, according to the chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

PRC Chairman Ruth Goldway commented on five-day delivery as a guest on an April 11 podcast with Gene Del Polito, the president of the Association for Postal Commerce.

“It’s not likely Congress would act to remove the six-day requirement in 2011 or 2012,” Goldway told Del Polito. “It’s possible farther down the road.”

Admitting that she is no expert when it comes to Congress, Goldway said it appears that outside of Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), there isn’t strong support for five-day delivery on the Senate side. The House side also seems to favor six-day delivery, she said.

“The government oversight committee seems very concerned about postal service costs, so it might support the Postal Service going to 5-day to cut costs,” she said.

The USPS had touted five-day mail delivery as a way to potentially save $3.1 billion. But in its advisory opinion released last month, the PRC concluded that the USPS’s annual net savings from eliminating Saturday delivery would be $1.7 billion. Full savings in either case would probably not be achieved until three years after implementation.

The PRC also found that the USPS failed to evaluate the impact of five-day delivery on customers in rural, remote, and noncontiguous areas. (Post offices would still stay open on Saturdays, and mail would be delivered to post office boxes.)

“The Postal Service won’t save nearly as much money as it thought,” Goldway said during the podcast. “If the Postal Services goes ahead with it, it could have serious problems with different constituencies that would get very disparate service.”

The Postal Service’s thinking and analysis with the proposal “was not robust,” Goldway said, “and it presented information that was difficult to corroborate.”