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Prepare for slightly higher prices and longer waits when sending packages

The U.S. Postal Services is updating its service standards starting on Oct. 1 and is advising its customers to plan ahead.
Prepare for slightly higher prices and longer waits when sending packages.
Posted at 6:55 PM, Sep 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 02:13:59-04

Package deliveries are about to get slower and just a little bit more expensive.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will implement new service standards starting on Oct. 1, 2021.

“I love snail mail still," said Matthew Oleary, a loyal USPS customer.

For some users, sending packages is a way to stay connected with loved ones regardless of how far away they are geographically.

“It’s birthdays and holidays, so you want to make it personal,” said Anna Magee-Edge, who uses USPS to send packages and letters consistently. “With packages, they’re presents, it’s more than just electronic.”

Magee-Edge is sending her sister a birthday surprise all the way to Switzerland, and she decided to do it right before things change in October.

“More expensive, right? And starting tomorrow. It has to get there by October 20, so hopefully it works,” added Magee-Edge.

In a statement, USPS announced that starting on Oct. 1: “Most first-class mail (61 percent) and periodicals (93 percent) will be unaffected by the new service standard changes. Standards for single-piece first-class mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.”

However, for packages, the goal used to be a three-day delivery for any destination within the U.S. for a drive time greater than six hours. In order to meet that quota, USPS had to rely on air transportation, which they say is not cost-effective.

“We have family in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Switzerland, so it goes all over the world besides the family that is in The States that is also going to be impacted,” explained Magee-Edge.

This update is part of “Delivering For America” USPS’ 10 year plan to become more sustainable and reliable by investing in technology and a new vehicle fleet. It also requests Congress to "integrate postal service retiree health plans with Medicare and eliminate the retiree health benefit pre-funding obligations.”

However, it comes with longer waits and slightly higher prices. For example, a stamp went up three cents and money orders, 15 cents.

“When you start thinking of a hundred of them, does the cost weigh in? Maybe, but it’s not our primary consideration,” said Oleary.

Another temporary price hike is expected for packages during the USPS peak season from Oct. 3 at 12:00 a.m. Central Time to Dec. 26, 2021, at 12:00 a.m. Central Time. International deliveries will not be impacted.

“For me, the mail is important, and I’m not too concerned about the price hike," said Brett Awbrey, who plans to continue sending things through USPS.

The U.S. Postal Service said they hope this strategy will help them adjust their revenue because they expect a 36% decline in their mail volume by 2030.