New USPS Changes Start Friday: Slower Delivery Times, Temporary Price Hikes

Delivery time of some first-class mail and periodicals will be impacted and package shipments will be more expensive during the upcoming holiday season

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

On Friday, the U.S. Postal Service will start implementing service changes that will impact the delivery time of some first-class mail and periodicals. The changes also mean shipping packages will be more expensive during this year's holiday season.

The move is part of the agency’s 10-year plan intended to improve service and achieve financial sustainability.

Here’s a look at how your mail may be impacted by the changes:

What Mail Is Impacted?

Beginning Oct. 1, First-class and periodical mail traveling distances of more than 930 miles will be most impacted. The USPS says 61% of first-class mail and 93% of periodicals will be unaffected. First-class mail consists of postcards, letters, envelopes and other lightweight packages. Periodical mail consists of magazines, newspapers and other publications.

How Will Delivery Times Be Impacted?

Currently, the delivery standard for first-class and periodical mail is within 3 days for any destination within the U.S. With the service changes, delivery time will be up to 5 days, depending on how far away the mail’s destination is.

For a destination less than 140 miles away from the mail’s origin, delivery will take two days. For mail traveling between 140 miles and 930 miles, delivery will take three days. Mail traveling from 931 miles up to 1,907 miles will be delivered in four days, and mail traveling more than 1,908 miles will be delivered in five days.

Why Are Delivery Times Changing?

According to the USPS 10-year plan, the first-class mail three-day service targets have not been met in eight years. USPS said this is due to “both unattainable service standards and a lack of operational precision.”

An overreliance on air travel, which can be inconsistent and is more expensive than on-ground transportation, has impacted delivery time, the USPS said. The new delivery standards will rely more on ground transportation.

The USPS said these changes will meet or exceed delivery standards 95% of the time.

What Are the Holiday Shipping Prices for Packages?

Starting Oct. 3 and ending on Dec. 26, the Postal Service will temporarily increase the cost of all domestic package shipments, including those from retailers, for the 2021 peak holiday season.

The changes will affect prices on Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Return Service. The increases vary based on service and distance, with Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express flat rates going up $.75 and some parcel and package services rising by up to $5. Retail and commercial shipping for First-Class Package Service will increase $.30. For a full list of increases, click here.

Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation as part of his 10-year plan for the U.S. Postal Service, including longer first-class delivery windows, reduced post office hours and higher postage prices. Tuesday's announcement was part of DeJoy's strategic vision for the agency.
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