In recent years, there has been immense public frustration with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), mail delivery times, and overall service performance. Much of this is within USPS’s control, though some is not.
The drivers for the public’s frustration include:
- Slower delivery standards. In October 2021, for the second time in less than a
decade, USPS slowed target mail delivery times, giving itself an extra day to
deliver 40 percent of first-class mail.
- COVID Christmas-season disruption. From November 2020 through January
2021, at the height of a COVID surge and as USPS was inundated with ecommerce (package) demands, mail service experienced historic nationwide delays.
- Regional service crises. There have been at least eight protracted regional mail
delivery crisis situations, typically for weeks at a time, which have occurred over
the past year and led to strong, high-profile calls from elected officials for action.
- Rise in postal crime. There has been a dramatic rise in mail theft and postal
crimes, resulting in the theft of checks and personal information that can be used
by identity thieves.
- Rising costs. With the price of a first-class stamp up 10 percent since the start of
2023, and postage costs in general now rising above the Consumer Price Index,
there is growing frustration that higher costs do not result in quicker or better
It is always important to measure service performance. That is especially the case now
and going forward as USPS continues to implement aggressive wholesale changes to its
operations and delivery network. It will also be important for USPS to continue to find
ways to mitigate a series of regional service disruptions that have had extensive impact.
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