BY SABRINA BATES
The United States Postal Service recently moved forward with new pricing, which was effective across the country Sunday, August 29. According to the USPS, the new pricing will enable USPS to grow revenue to help achieve financial sustainability to fulfill its universal service mission, as outlined in the 10-year “Delivering for America” plan.
Under the plan, new standards will give the USPS five days to send a first-class letter across the country instead of the three-day standard, which is one of the delivery standards that Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said the USPS rarely has met.
Most local mail, which takes two days, will not be affected, the officials said. First-Class Mail prices increased by 6.8 percent, reportedly to offset declining revenue due to First-Class Mail volume declines. In the last 10 years, the USPS reports mail volume decreased by 46 billion pieces, 28 percent, and continues to decline. During the same 10-year period, First-Class Mail volume dropped 32 percent and single-piece First-Class Mail volume, which includes letters with postage stamps, declined 47 percent.
As a result, First Class Mail single-piece letters (one ounce) now costs 58 cents to send. The three-cent increase also includes the increase in single forever stamp prices, which rose from 55 to 58 cents under the plan.
Metered one-ounce First-Class Mail letter prices increased from 51 to 53 cents. First-Class Mail domestic postcards changed in price from 36 cents to 40 cents and First-Class Single-Piece (one ounce) flats increased from $1 to $1.16.
According to the USPS, First-Class Mail is the highest revenue generating mail class, accounting for $23.8 billion, 33 percent, of the $73.2 billion in total revenue in Fiscal Year 2019-2020.
The 10-year plan also includes changes to some package delivery from air to ground transportation. Mail transported by air is subject to the schedules of the commercial airlines, including delays, cancelations, and re-routing. The USPS says during the time the mail is in the planes, it has no control over delivery time. The agency noted air transportation rescheduling negatively affected delivery standards, particularly in 2020. Changing from air to ground transportation is expected to reduce the number of steps required to move the mail. Most First-Class Mail will not be affected by this change and mail traveling within a local area will still have a standard two-day delivery, according to the agency.
As the holiday season approaches, the USPS is considering a price increase for additional products, including commercial and retail domestic competitive parcels – Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Return Service.
For PME and PM Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes, the proposed increase is 75 cents. By weight, price increases start at 25 cents up to $5, depending on the weight of a package and according to the USPS Zone.
The suggested price increases for parcels during the holiday season would go into effect October 3 through December 26. Visit www.about.usps.com for additional information.