Postal Service to end Saturday mail delivery?

The USPS wants Congress to drop the requirement that it deliver mail on Saturdays, and make it voluntary instead.

By Alex Koppelman

Published January 28, 2009 9:40PM (EST)

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. Saturdays and Sundays, however, are a different story.

Postmaster General John Potter was expected to tell a Senate committee on Wednesday that Congress should stop requiring the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail on Saturdays, the Federal Times reports. That likely wouldn't mean a complete halt to Saturday delivery, at least not at first -- if Congress goes along, the USPS will then study the matter before deciding what to do. And it could be that Saturday delivery won't be ended entirely, but will be dropped during periods of low mail volume.

According to the Federal Times, dropping Saturday delivery altogether could save the Postal Service more than $2.5 billion annually, which is a little less than it lost last year.

Update: A little clarification, courtesy of the Associated Press -- the requirement is actually that mail be delivered six days a week, there's no specific Saturday requirement. So the dropped day could be another low-volume day, like Tuesday. Also, George Mason University did a study last year that estimated the potential savings at $1.9 billion, while a USPS study put it at $3.5 billion.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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