The U.S. Postal Service, which lost $8.5 billion in 2010, is considering ending Saturday mail delivery. But it might someday cut mail delivery down to just three days a week, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said in 2011.
"I think in 15 years, we'll probably be talking about delivering mail three days a week, just because the Internet will take up a lot of what we do today in first-class mail," Donahoe told USA Today in July 2011.
"I think that will be a good way of delivering packages, and will be a viable way still of (delivering) hard-copy advertising - because people like that," Donahoe told the newspaper. "It's still the most direct way, until they figure out how to make the Internet show up in front of your eyes."
Donahoe said the idea of cutting mail delivery to just three days a week was hypothetical and not yet under consideration in 2011, even though the agency was facing yet another year of massive deficits.
What Mail Delivery in 2025 Could Look Like
Donahoe said the Postal Service could save significant amounts of money by cutting mail delivery to just three days a week.
The agency, which has been criticized for spending exhorbitant amounts on travel, announced numerous cost-saving measures earlier in 2011, including the cancellation of bonuses for top managers and executives.
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"At some point we'll have to move to three. Monday-Wednesday-Friday, so you have the ability to make substantial cuts; you can cut your vehicle numbers in half, for example," Donahoe said. "So I think we'll see that at a certain point in time."
Mail Delivery in 2040
If the Postal Service continues to lose revenue and mail volume beyond 2025 because of increasing reliance on email, Donahoe said, mail delivery could be cut back even more drastically than just three days a week.
Mail delivery could ultimately be reduced to just one day a week.
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"When you get out past that to a certain time, say 2040, who the heck knows? But there will always be packages, and there will always be some requirement or demand for some hard-copy delivery," Donahoe said in his interview with USA Today.
"Maybe one day a week in some of these places. We do that now; there's places in Alaska, even in the continental United States, like in Montana and Wyoming."