Mail delivery is about to get permanently slower and pricier for the holidays

The United States Postal Service logo on a mailbox.
The United States Postal Service logo is seen on a mailbox outside a post office in Los Angeles on Aug. 17, 2020.
Robyn Beck | AFP via Getty Images 2020

You better get those holiday packages mailed out sooner rather than later: Mail delivery is about to get slower and more expensive.

Beginning Friday, the U.S. Postal Service will start to "implement new service standards" for first class mail and periodicals — slowing its target delivery time by about 30 percent, USPS spokesperson Kim Frum told NPR.

According to Frum, some of the changes will result in increased time for some pieces of mail to go cross-country and other long distances. However, she tells NPR that 61 percent of first-class mail and 93 percent of periodicals will not be affected by these changes.

Single-piece first-class mail (smaller, lightweight mail) traveling in the same region will still have a two-day delivery time, Frum said. First-class packages, however, will be impacted by the new standards starting Friday.

Additionally, beginning Sunday and ending on Dec. 26, the postal service will temporarily increase prices on all "commercial and retail domestic packages" due to the holiday season, Frum said.

The price increases will not affect international products.

The changes are part of the Postal Service's 10-year strategic plan announced by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy this past March.

The plan includes a combination of investments in technology, training and a new fleet of delivery vehicles, which will lead to greater "consistency, reliability, and efficiency" benefiting customers, Frum said.

"The need for the U.S. Postal Service to transform to meet the needs of our customers is long overdue," DeJoy said in announcing the plan.

Frum told NPR that the Postal Service will use more ground transportation and that it is more reliable and cost-effective than air transportation.

"With this change, we will improve service reliability and predictability for customers while also driving efficiencies across the Postal Service network," she said.

In August, the Postal Service announced its standard for first-class mail delivery was met 83.6 percent of the time throughout the quarter ending June 30, in comparison to its 88.9 percent performance during the same period in 2020.

The Postal Service also reported a loss of $3 billion for the quarter ending June 30, compared to the $2.2 billion in the previous year.

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