USPS Announces Service Cuts To Avoid Bankruptcy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — The United States Postal Service announced service cuts that will save billions. But it also means your mail will take longer to get to its destination.

Blame it on electronic communication and the decline of first-class mail. The USPS is projected to lose $14.1 billion next year.

The proposed changes would not go into effect until next spring.

Right now, a first-class letter often arrives the next day. This plan would change that. First-class letters would take not just one day but as long as three days to arrive.

Customers at a Minneapolis post office said the change would affect them most around the holidays, when they send more packages and cards.

But over all customers say the change will not have a big impact.

“It won’t bother me,” said Holly Roseburg, who is a regular visitor to her local post office.

Customer Scharmin Williams agreed saying, “I think it’s a good way to save money.”

The change is the latest in an ongoing effort by the Post Office to balance its books.

The Post Office has been pulling corner mailboxes that are not heavily used off the streets. Another rate hike to 45 cents for a first-class stamp will go into effect later this month. Plus, thousands of post offices, like one in downtown Northfield, are being closed.

The main reason for the cuts and changes is that people are using the post office less and less, and using the Internet more. Mail volume has dropped 20 percent, which is more than 40 billion pieces over the last five years.

The USPS also plans to close four mail-processing centers in Minnesota as part of nationwide cutbacks.

The four centers in Minnesota are the same ones that the Postal Service said in September it was studying for possible closure. They are in Bemidji, Duluth, Rochester and Waite Park. In addition, the Postal Service is studying possibly moving some or all of the Mankato processing center’s operations to Minneapolis.

Regional Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said the plan isn’t final.

Nationwide, the agency plans to close 252 processing centers and slow first-class delivery next spring, because of steadily shrinking mail volume.

The cuts would close 252 of out 461 mail-processing centers across the country starting next April.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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