Snail Mail gets slower

B y Dan King

People in New York’s rural municipalities, including Whitehall, may have to wait an extra day for delivery of First Class mail.

In January the US. Postal Service amended its delivery service standards for single-piece First Class mail, to better fit the ever-changing world. That means people sending or receiving First Class mail will have to wait a little longer.

Previously it took 1.8 days for a piece of First Class mail to be delivered on average; with this change, that average will jump up to 2.1 days, the USPS website says.

“In January 2015, the Postal Service changed its First Class Mail delivery service standards, which affects roughly 14 billion pieces of the total volume or nine percent, and up to 16 percent of First-Class mail,” said George Flood, USPS Northeast spokesman. “The affected volume represents primarily single-piece First-Class Mail. The majority of this mail will be delivered in two days instead of one.”

USPS officials say this change will primarily impact areas that are determined to have smaller mail volumes, among other factors.

“It is important to recognize that delivery service standards are closely related to mail volumes, transportation, and logistics – not community types, rural, urban, suburban, etc.,” Flood said.

Delivery service standards are set so that mailers and customers can anticipate and expect consistent delivery times for their mail.

So rural communities, such as Whitehall, will be directly impacted by this increase in delivery time.

USPS said that packages, medicine and standard mail will not be impacted by the change. The Postal Service also issued a statement saying that companies will “continue to have the opportunity to present their mail for overnight processing and delivery.”

These changes were spurred by a 26 percent decrease in total mail traffic over the past 10 years and a 35 percent decrease in the amount of First Class mail traffic.

The delivery service standard amendments are just one of many recent national changes to the USPS, which have impacted rural New York.

Last year, about 13,000 small post offices nationwide had their basic hours of operation reduced, cut in half, and in some instances completely closed.

Last August, the post office in Huletts Landing saw its hours cut in half from eight hours a day to four.

“Residents are encouraged to contact our toll free Customer Care Center at 1-800-ASK-USPS with any concerns, service issues, comments or compliments they may have,” Flood said.

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