U.S. Postal Service delivery will be getting slower and more expensive just in time for the holidays, NPR reported Tuesday night.
USPS on Friday will begin implementing "new service standards" for first-class mail and periodicals that will slow target delivery time by about 30%, spokesperson Kim Frum told NPR.
Some changes will result in increased time for certain pieces of mail going cross-country and other long distances, said Frum, who added that 61% of first-class mail and 93% of periodicals will not be affected by the changes.
Frum told NPR that single-piece first-class mail traveling in the same region will continue to have a two-day delivery time. First-class packages, though, will be impacted by the new standards.
USPS also will temporarily increase prices on all "commercial and retail domestic packages" from Oct. 3-Dec. 26, Frum said.
International products will not be affected by the price increases.
USPS faced significant operational issues during the 2020 holiday season as package deliveries jumped with more shopping being done online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The service delivered more than 1.1 billion packages during last year's holiday season, a more than 40% increase in full network packages, Reuters reported.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in March announced that the changes are part of a 10-year strategic plan that includes a combination of investments in technology, training, and a new fleet of delivery vehicles.
Frum told NPR the plan will result in "consistency, reliability, and efficiency" benefiting customers.
"The need for the U.S. Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue," DeJoy said in announcing the plan.
USPS will use more ground transportation, said Frum, calling it more reliable and more cost-effective than air transportation.
"With this change, we will improve service reliability and predictability for customers while also driving efficiencies across the Postal Service network," she told NPR.
The standard for first-class mail delivery was met 83.6% of the time between April and June, compared to an 88.9% performance during the same period in 2020, USPS said in August.
The service also reported a loss of $3 billion for the year’s second quarter, compared to $2.2 billion in 2020.
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