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Local business owners talk impact of new USPS service standards

“To which our response is: Thanks for nothing. In other words, it’s already slowed down to a crawl, how can you get it even slower?" said Wood.

CARLISLE, Pa. — The United States Postal Service will implement new service standards for first-class mail and periodicals. 

That means letters, packages and magazines traveling longer distances could take up to five days, instead of two or three. 

It will be slowing its target delivery time by about 30% according to NPR.

Jeff Wood, the owner of Whistlestop Bookshop says it’s frustrating having to deal with issues that are out of his control but impact his business directly.

“To which our response is: Thanks for nothing. In other words, it’s already slowed down to a crawl, how can you get it even slower?" said Wood.

According to USPS, these new service standards will increase delivery reliability, consistency, and efficiency for customers.

But for small business owners in Carlisle, who have already been dealing with mail delays, this is another blow to an already difficult year. 

“We thought we survived a rough year in the pandemic. we don’t need in the final quarter, in which almost all retail business is done, this extra layer of crisis," said Wood. 

“I can’t rely on them, and I don’t want my customers to feel the way I am, where is this? I’ve been waiting for how long it’s still not here. That’s the problem," said Jessica Miller, the owner of Earth Artisan and & Outfitter. 

The business owners add that sending and receiving mail in a timely manner is vital in keeping their business running. 

“I mail stuff every day, and not only do I mail out payments to vendors and payments to other places that I owe money to. But I mail constantly, packages every day. So, I wanna know that there’s some reliability and consistency to my end of the operation," said Wood. 

“What I have in stock right now, and I’m fully stocked for the season, it’s beautiful, but I can’t guarantee that I’m going to be able to get anything after this time," said Miller. 

USPS provided FOX43 with a statement saying:

On October 1, the Postal Service will implement new service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals. These new service standards will increase delivery reliability, consistency, and efficiency for our customers and across our network.

Most First-Class Mail (61 percent) and Periodicals (93 percent) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.

The Postal Service will increase time‐in‐transit standards by 1 or 2 days for certain mail that are traveling longer distances (e.g. New York to California).

 By doing so, the Postal Service can entrust its ground network to deliver more First-Class Mail, which will lead to greater consistency, reliability, and efficiency that benefits its customers.

To help with clarification, there is a difference between First-Class Mail (FCM) and First-Class Package Service (FCPS). FCM is designed for standard sized letters and flats; FCPS is primarily designed for shipping small, lightweight packages. Maximum weight and prices differ.

Delivery of both FCM and FCPS are currently the same, but with the new standards being introduced on Oct. 1, FCPS and FCM standards will no longer be identical.

Whether it’s 300 miles or 3,000 miles, the current standard for FCPS requires 3-day service for any destination within the contiguous U.S. with a drive time greater than 6 hours. This is unattainable and forces us to overly rely on air transportation, yielding unreliable service. With this change of offering 2- to 5-day service based on distance, we will improve service reliability and predictability for customers, while also driving efficiencies across the Postal Service network.

This service standard change will also expand our 2-day FCPS reach to better position us in the 1- to 2-day market, a market that is growing as consumer expectations change. For example, while we narrow the 2-day standard for FCM letters and flats from a 6-hour drive time to a 3-hour drive time, we will expand the 6-hour drive time for the 2-day FCPS standard to 8 hours

These changes would position us to leverage more cost-effective means to transport First-Class packages via ground rather than using costly air transportation, which is also less reliable due to weather, flight traffic, availability constraints, competition for space, and the added hand-offs involved.

Customers may still opt to use Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail services to ship packages within the contiguous U.S. with a 1-to-3-day service standard.

The service standard changes that we have determined to implement are a necessary step towards achieving our goal of consistently meeting 95 percent service performance. Please see our fact sheet on the Delivering for America website for more service standard change information

With regards to any pricing changes, the Postal Service will temporarily increase package prices on commercial and retail domestic package shipments for the 2021 fall and holiday peak season.

The temporary price adjustments, which anticipate fall and peak-season volume surges similar to levels experienced in 2020, will be in effect from 12:00 a.m., Central Time, on Oct. 3, 2021, and remain in place until 12:00 a.m., Central Time, Dec. 26, 2021, and will not affect international products. For information on anticipated price changes in 2022, please see our most recent statement.

The service standard changes and limited time price increase are part of our balanced and comprehensive Delivering for America, 10-year strategic plan and will improve service reliability and predictability for customers and enhance the efficiency of the Postal Service network.

The 10-year, comprehensive plan will help return the organization to financial sustainability and achieve service excellence while maintaining universal six-day mail delivery and expanding seven-day package delivery. The plan includes a combination of investments in technology, training, Post Offices and a new vehicle fleet; modernizing the Postal Service’s processing network; adopting best-in-class logistics practices across delivery and transportation operations; creating new revenue-generating offerings in the rapidly expanding e-commerce marketplace and pricing changes as authorized by the Postal Regulatory Commission. The Postal Service Plan will spur cash flow and savings to make $40 billion in capital investments over the next 10 years, many of which have been long-delayed due to the organization’s financial challenges of the past decade.

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