To follow up on my earlier post about the postal service, Marketplace tonight had story about the current state of the postal service the difficulties of fulfilling mission: Universal service at a universal rate. (Postal deficit may lead to less delivery, Jan 5) Here are key points:
Mail volume has plummeted since 2006, thanks to things like e-mail and paying bills online. Patrick Donahoe is the deputy postmaster general.
PATRICK DONAHOE: What we’re seeing is this. We’ve lost in the three-year time frame 18 percent of the volume.
The postal service has cut more than 1,400 branches and 180,000 jobs in the last decade. But in rural places, it’s a hard sell to close a town post office when there’s no other option for 20 miles, and it goes against the mission of the USPS to hike prices in remote towns. But Donahoe says those post offices can be expensive.
DONAHOE: We’ve got rural post offices out there that we’ll spend $10 in costs for every $1 we take in in revenue.
So what is the postal service to do? The biggest change coming could be in Saturday delivery. The agency is planning to ask Congress to let it stop running mail routes six days a week. Donahoe says that could save $3.5 billion each year.
When you here numbers like this, it is not surprising that UPS and other commercial delivery firms are not jumping up and down to privatize the postal service.