By Henry J. Cordes – May 17, 2015
For decades, the U.S. Postal Service has pledged that you could send a letter anywhere in the country and see it arrive at its destination within three days.
But lately, only 63 percent of such non-local mail arrives on time. For letters sent from or to some of the nation’s largest cities, including New York and Los Angeles, fewer than half meet the three-day standard.
The picture is somewhat better for mail in the Midlands. In fact, among the Postal Service’s 67 local districts, the Central Plains area that includes Nebraska, western Iowa and most of Kansas so far this year ranks in the top quarter in the nation in on-time performance, for both local and more far-flung domestic mail.
Even so, on-time performance for non-local letters in the Central Plains district has dropped from 85 percent last year to 69 percent recently.
Slower delivery was a given this year for what some call snail mail in this instant email age. The U.S. Postal Service in January reduced delivery standards and made other major operational changes to save money.
But according to new Postal Service performance data obtained by The World-Herald, mail delivery has gotten far pokier than most anyone expected.
Even compared with the reduced standards, the Postal Service is more frequently failing to get mail delivered on time.
The biggest delays have been with single-piece first-class letters, cards and small parcels that are bound for non-local destinations within the continental United States. A year ago, more than four out of five such mail pieces were meeting the Postal Service’s three-day delivery standard. Today, it’s closer to three out of five….
But officials with the postal union put the blame squarely on the recent cost-cutting moves.
“That’s not the carrier; it’s the postal system,” said Phil Thomas, president of the postal workers union in Omaha. “We need the public to join us to protect their service. The fact is, they are now getting less for more.”