The U.S. Postal Service said it would increase postage rates for letters, postcards and other postal services this summer as part of Postmaster Louis DeJoy’s 10-year plan to reorganize the agency’s struggling finances. . The cost of a stamp for first class mail will drop from 55 cents to 58 cents now.
DeJoy, whose tenure was marked by controversy over his operational changes to the service, earlier this yeara 10-year plan to overhaul the USPS. He said the changes were needed to contain billions of dollars in losses and put the agency on a path to profitability – and on Friday he said the increase in postage rates was part of efforts to increase revenues. .
The volume of first-class, one-piece mail, such as letters bearing postage stamps, has declined 47% over the past 10 years, the USPS said on Friday. Even with the latest increase, the USPS said it will continue to have “some of the lowest letter postage rates in the industrialized world” when they take effect on August 29. Overall, the USPS said courier prices would rise nearly 7%. .
But USPS on-time delivery rates have deteriorated in recent months, with 1 in 5 shipments to the United States.to households and businesses in the first three months of 2021. Asking consumers and businesses to pay more for an underperforming service could risk further loss of postal activity, said Paul Steidler, principal researcher at the Lexington Institute, a reflection on public policy tank based in Arlington, Virginia, and USPS expert.
“People are willing to pay more for the mail but want a guarantee, or at least an assurance, that it will be delivered on time,” Steidler said.
He added: “Come out and say you’re going to ask for an increase of almost 7% in this atmosphere, and at a time when the economy is fragile, it’s going to, I think, do more harm than good.”
Raising the prices of first-class stamps and other services is part of a “rational pricing approach that allows us to remain viable and competitive and to offer reliable postal services that are among the most affordable in the world.” DeJoy said in a statement. .
Critics have raised concerns about key elements of DeJoy’s 10-year plan, including the implementation of slower delivery standards and planned closures of some post offices. Notably, the plan would slow the USPS delivery standard for first-class mail to six days, from its current three-day delivery for any destination in the continental United States.
Some customers may complain about paying more for stamps and services when delivery times are slower, increasing the risk of a downward spiral where postal customers continue to divert their business from the USPS, Steidler added. .