Could Cutting Saturday Postal Service Save Money?

The Postal Service, which lost some $8.5 billion last year, says it could save billions if it were allowed to end Saturday mail deliveries. But a new report says those savings are overstated.

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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And I'm Melissa Block.

The Postal Service has been considering ending Saturday delivery to save money. But a new report says the Postal Service has overstated those potential savings.

NPR's Brian Naylor explains.

BRIAN NAYLOR: The Postal Service says it would save more than $3 billion a year if only it didn't have to deliver the mail on Saturdays. But the Postal Regulatory Commission finds the savings are much smaller, about $1.7 billion. And it says five-day-a-week delivery would create other problems.

Without Saturday delivery, the commission estimates about a quarter of first class and priority mail deliveries would be delayed by two days. And the Post Office would be hard pressed the rest of the week.

Ruth Goldway is chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Ms. RUTH GOLDWAY (Chairman, Postal Regulatory Commission): When you take Saturday and you move it into five days, you're going to create peaks and valleys, problems with transportation that they haven't acknowledged.

NAYLOR: Goldway says the Postal Service also ignored the impact on rural America in its proposal for five-day delivery.

Mr. GOLDWAY: Rural America isn't as well connected on the Internet, rural America doesn't have access to post offices; they rely on their letter carrier to provide the services that post offices have.

NAYLOR: In a statement, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe says the Regulatory Commission's report is only advisory and that, quote, "we remain convinced of our findings." But Donahoe already faces an uphill battle in convincing Congress to eliminate Saturday delivery and his sales job just got more difficult.

Brian Naylor, NPR News, Washington.

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