US Postal Service Delivery Continues to Be Weak

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has released more data that shows how badly its delivery system continues to be. This raises the question of whether the agency should operate at its current size and scope. Criticism about delivery times continues to grow, as does the belief that the problem cannot be solved.

In its delivery performance report for the 11th week in the fourth quarter of its fiscal year, the average time for the delivery of “a mailpiece or package across the postal network” was 2.5 days. This is about the same as it has been for the current quarter.

Only 92.3% of First-Class Mail was delivered on time, based on the USPS target. The agency has a 10-year plan that targets a delivery rate for First Class of 95%. To help reach the goal, it has added more full-time people. The USPS says 100,000 people have been converted to full-time since January 2021.

The USPS has a staggering 34,223 offices. 24/7 Wall St. recently wrote, “One part of USPS operations that is absurd is the fact that it has over 34,000 offices. Once again, much of the communication among Americans and the delivery of documents is done electronically. People do not need a physical post office as much as they did in the past.”

Ideally, the USPS would encourage people to move from physical delivery of mail and packages to electronic mail. It is substantially more effective and much less expensive. One could argue this would make the USPS much smaller, which should be its primary goal. People also should be encouraged to pay all their bills online.

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The other practice the USPS should encourage is using FedEx and UPS. It is another way the USPS can be made much smaller. This, in turn, would cut the number of workers the agency has and allow it to cut both expensive offices and its massive fleet of trucks.

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Another way the USPS could decrease costs is to eliminate the practice of six-day-a-week delivery. It is hard to show that Americans need mail to be delivered more than twice a week.

The USPS continues to meet its own delivery goals. It should not try to. It is a much better goal for the agency to shrink itself quickly.

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