If you haven’t seen it yet: We reported on Friday that Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., proposed allowing the Postal Service to “pilot” 5-day mail delivery in a few areas around the country. Polls usually indicate that the public is okay with 5-day delivery; Durbin wants to see if those poll numbers hold up when the idea becomes a reality.
One other item I wanted to highlight from that hearing (at which John Potter, the Postmaster General, was one of the witnesses). Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said several times that she’s worried 5-day delivery will reduce mail volume. At one point, she cited the example of weekly newspaper publishers in Maine. Their papers are usually delivered on Saturdays, so switching to 5-day delivery would cause problems; Collins said many will look for “alternatives to the mail.”
Like what, though? UPS and FedEx don’t deliver on Saturdays, nor would they be cost-effective alternatives to the mail.
5-day delivery will undoubtedly reduce volume, and it will make life more complicated for some businesses that rely on the Postal Service. But many of those businesses have no real alternative, so they can’t exactly stop using the mail.