Slow-motion USPS delivery and holiday season prices will rise

Americans who were frustrated by slow service from the U.S. Postal Service since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic likely won’t be happy to hear this:

Service is about to get even slower.

Starting Friday, the Postal Service “will implement new service standards for first class mail and periodicals,” spokeswoman Kim Frum said in an email to USA TODAY.

The changes mean increased transit time for mail traveling long distances, such as from New York to California. Frum said “most first class mail (61%) and periodicals (93%) will not be affected” by the changes. First Class One Piece Mail traveling within the same region will still have a two day delivery time.

The Postal Service defines first class mail as “standard size letters and apartments,” Frum said. It is different from first class packages, which are generally used for shipping smaller and light packages. Currently, First Class Mail and First Class Parcels have the same delivery standards, but that will change as of Friday.

Changes to normal hours of service are part of La Poste’s ten-year strategic plan, which was announced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in March. The plan drew strong criticism from elected officials.

DeJoy took office in June 2020 despite no previous postal service experience. The post of Postmaster General is not appointed or proposed by a president but rather appointed by the independent Board of Governors of Postal Services.

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The postal service has been in financial trouble for years and the coronavirus pandemic has only made matters worse.

By making this change, said Frum, “the Postal Service can outsource its land network to deliver more first-class mail, which will lead to greater consistency, reliability and efficiency for the benefit of its customers … whether it is 300 miles or 3,000 miles, the standard for (first class packages) require 3 day service to any destination in the contiguous United States with a driving time greater than six hours. This is impractical and forces us to depend on air transport, making a service unreliable. With this change, we will improve reliability and predictability of service for customers while improving efficiency across the postal service network. “

In addition, from October 3 to December 26, the postal service increase prices on all domestic commercial and retail packages due to the holiday season and its increased mail volume. These price increases will not affect international products, Frum said.

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