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Postal Service looks to scale back delivery

Last Wednesday, the United States Postal Service (USPS) formally proposed scaling back mail delivery to five days a week from six. Citing a “tipping point” in its future, the service said it would save $3.3 billion with the plan if it were implemented.

What does this mean for Stanford’s post office location? While eliminating Saturday street delivery would mean letters dropped in blue boxes over the weekend would not be processed until Monday, the Stanford branch would reportedly remain open.

The U.S. Postal Service is proposing scaling back delivery services from the current six days a week to just five. The campus post office's pickup and delivery service would be affected if the change is approved. (MERISSA REN/Staff Photographer)

Stanford’s office operations are currently limited on Saturdays: post office boxes can be accessed at all times, but package pick-up is limited to between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. If the plan goes into effect, students could see delays in scheduled delivery dates, but there has been no announcement as to whether or not the branch would simply close on the weekends.

Frank Wolak, an economics professor from the University of Illinois, conducted a study in 2008 that found household demand for USPS services has been reduced by the Internet explosion and increases in postage prices.

“I think what the postmaster general said is that the Postal Service for the 21st century is clearly going to be a dramatically different one than the one that existed in the 20th century,” Wolack said in an interview with PBS.

“It’s going to be significantly smaller, just because of the fact that there are so many alternatives,” he added.

Saturday is typically the slowest day of the week for mail delivery, according to a USPS news release. In a Gallup poll earlier this month, 69 percent of Americans polled said they would be fine without weekend deliveries if it meant stable stamp prices.

The Postal Service proposed eliminating a day of delivery once before but was denied by Congress. The proposal must pass through the Postal Regulatory Commission, where a hearing is scheduled next week. Congress must also approve the proposal.

If both organizations approve the change, it would go into effect at the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year.

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