The U.S. Postal Service, faced with projected losses, rising costs and a slowing business, says it will study cutting back to a five-day week that would eliminate its Saturday delivery.
The agency will also examine cost-saving initiatives by consolidating facilities and closing some postal plants and offices across the country.
The agency’s governing board has said the Postal Service is expected to lose two billion to three billion this fiscal year.
“The Postal Service’s ability to meet its statutory mandate to bind the nation together needs to be protected,” said S. David Fineman, the board’s vice chairman.
The board is committed to reducing spending by $2.5 billion by 2003. Over the next five years, the agency plans to cut administrative costs by 25 percent and transportation costs by 10 percent.
To this end, the Postal Service froze more than 800 construction projects to cut costs. The study will examine ending Saturday delivery for all mail, except overnight delivery.
The governing board recently wrote to President Bush and congressional leaders, saying, “We are taking the steps within our power to sustain the institution. Long-term solutions, however, require, substantial changes to our regulatory framework.”
The Postal Service leases about 27,000 facilities a year and delivers mail to 134 million homes and post offices boxes a year. Among the factors affecting its operations are rising fuel costs, more people using e-mail over regular mail, an increasingly competitive marketplace, wage increases and labor costs.
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