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Mail delivery changes; Postal cutback greeted coolly

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A Franklin mail carrier found out about the upcoming changes to his schedule along with everyone else.

Early Wednesday, Toby Ross found out from television news and fellow employees that he, along with all other mail carriers nationwide, no longer will deliver mail on Saturdays starting this summer.

Ross said he wasn’t surprised by the news because the reduction to five-day delivery has been discussed for years, and he doesn’t necessarily mind the change.

“I kind of like it, because it gives me Saturday and Sunday off. But I know they’re not doing it just so we can have a weekend,” Ross said.

Mail delivery changes

What’s happening: The U.S. Postal Service announced that carriers will no longer deliver paper mail on Saturdays starting the week of Aug. 5.

Why: The change will save the company about $2 billion annually.

What will be delivered: Mail carriers will still deliver packages on Saturdays, and post offices will still be open.

Staffing: Mail carriers’ hours may be adjusted, but the postal service does not plan to reduce staff.

On Wednesday, the United States Postal Service announced that carriers no longer will deliver paper mail on Saturdays starting the week of Aug. 5, a change that is estimated to save about $2 billion annually.

Mail carriers will still deliver packages on Saturdays, and post offices will remain open; but residents and businesses who receive letters, magazines and circulars will have to wait until Monday to get them, USPS spokeswoman Mary Dando said.

“We are in such dire financial straits, it really just makes sense,” she said.

Dando said the postal service has struggled financially in recent years as fewer people send letters and bills through the mail, and officials hope the latest change will allow them to reduce expenses without negatively affecting customers. In a survey, about 75 percent of residents said they would not mind the postal service switching to five-day delivery, as long as packages still were delivered on Saturdays, she said.

The postal service made the announcement in advance so that residents, businesses and post offices can prepare for the change, she added.

For instance, Dando said, businesses that send advertising fliers to be delivered on Saturdays will have to change the day they send them out, and post offices will have to change the schedules of employees who deliver mail on the weekends.

Ross said he thinks businesses open on Saturdays will be most affected by the change because they’ll have to wait until Monday to get their mail.

But most of the businesses on Ross’ route are closed on Saturdays, and business employees said if they need something delivered on the weekend, they can turn to another delivery company, such as FedEx or UPS.

“Anything we would receive of critical need, for clinical operations, we wouldn’t be getting through the postal service anyway,” Franciscan St. Francis Health-Indianapolis spokesman Joe Stuteville said.

Mail carriers’ hours may be cut with the change, but the postal service has nearly 400 temporary positions open in Indiana and does not plan to reduce staff, Dando said.

Ross said he does not think his job will be affected, but he worried about part-time employees who fill in for full-time mail carriers.

Raymond Smith, a mail carrier with the Franklin post office, said he does not think many people will be affected by the change, and the recent announcement is just the latest in a long list.

“I’ve worked here for 14 years, and no month has ever been the same,” he said.

Smith said businesses that are open on Saturdays could get mad about not receiving their mail on the weekend, but he doesn’t think residents will mind the wait.

“I think they can do without a piece of paper,” he said.

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