October 30, 2014

Elyria
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Local postal customers unsurprised, support move to five-day a week delivery

ELYRIA — Janet Bird wasn’t surprised by Wednesday’s announcement by the U.S. Postal Service that it plans to do away with delivery of letters, bills, cards, catalogs and other first-class mail Saturdays come August.

“I expected it,” Bird said of the move, which postal officials anticipate will save approximately $2 billion a year.

The plan calls for mail to be delivered to homes and businesses Monday through Friday, while packages will continue to be delivered on a six-day schedule Monday through Saturday.

A few other post office patrons agreed with Bird but declined to be quoted.

The Postal Service has advocated a shift to five-day delivery for mail for several years in an effort to balance its precarious budget. Initially, the plan called for cutting package delivery, too, but that is an area that has shown growth for the Postal Service.

Expected to take effect the week of Aug. 5, the one-day-a-week reduction in mail delivery is arguably the most visible step taken by the Postal Service, which has struggled for years in the face of declining revenues coupled with no tax dollars. The system relies instead on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

“We’ll get used to it like we do anything else,” Bird said of the loss of Saturday delivery. “It probably wasn’t right that they did this that soon after raising rates,” Bird said, referring to the recent penny hike in first-class postal rates to 46 cents.

“It doesn’t seem like anything of importance comes on Saturday anyway,” said one man, who declined to be named.

Another woman agreed: “If that will keep their costs down and keep them from raising rates so often, then I’m for it.”

Elyrian Tony White said the shift to five-day delivery won’t make a big difference in his life.

“I don’t go to the mailbox every day anyway,” he said, noting he often works 10-hour days, especially on Saturdays. “Sometimes I don’t even get the (Saturday) mail until Sunday.”

White readily acknowledged he is among a large number of people who pay bills and conduct other business via computer but said nothing equals the simple and traditional joy of receiving a letter in the mail.

“I still like to come here to send a letter, and receive one,” White said.

The increasing use of the Internet was cited as one factor in the drop in volume of what is nicknamed “snail mail.”

As for the projected impact the delivery reduction may make on major area businesses, Mercy Regional Medical Center employs an integrated communication system that incorporates social media, electronic communications and physical mail service, according to communications specialist Theresa M. Smith.

“Because of this, Mercy does not anticipate a negative affect on business operations,” Smith said in an email.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.