Friday, June 25, 2010

Hearing shows rural concerns about Saturday mail; has implications for many rural newspapers

Rural areas are among those poised to be hardest hit by a potential end to Saturday mail delivery, said participants in a Postal Regulatory Commission hearing in South Dakota about the proposal. Rural mail carriers at the meeting argued that the 50 percent of South Dakota and North Dakota addresses being served by rural mail routes will be hurt by a five-day delivery schedule, Emilie Rusch of the Rapid City Journal reports. "There are rural routes in South Dakota that are 150 to 170 miles long," Gary Evenson, a rural mail carrier in Rapid City, said "Without Saturday delivery, some customers would have to drive 30, 40 or 50 miles or more roundtrip to go to the post office."

The South Dakota event was the sixth of seven PSC public hearings being conducted nationwide, with previous stops in Las Vegas, Sacramento, Dallas, Memphis and Chicago. Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president of government relations and public policy for the Postal Service, told Evensopn that eliminating Saturday mail delivery would save $3 billion annually. "We've known for a long time that our business model was broken," Dominguez said. "If we do absolutely nothing, if we make no efforts to cut costs, we're going to face a $238 billion deficit by 2020."

"Rural carriers also expressed concern about the job losses that would follow the elimination of Saturday mail delivery," Evenson writes. Brad Duffy, president of the South Dakota Rural Letter Carriers Association, reported that 43,000 rural carriers deliver mail on Saturdays. Clem Felchle, manager of the Dakotas District for the U.S. Postal Service, said if Saturday delivery is ended rural carriers will adjust. "When I lived in rural America, did I expect the same exact services I got living in a big city?" Felchle said. "You make those choices. The more remote you are, the fewer services you have." (Read more)

The end of Saturday mail could disrupt many newspapers; some have recently switched to the mail as their primary delivery service. Christopher Huckle of the Cadillac News in Michigan told the commission at a hearing in Chicago that "Loss of Saturday mail will force his company to face either major revenue loss or the need to create a new private delivery service—a tough assignment for a family-owned newspaper," the National Newspaper Association reports.

1 comment:

Asbjorn Riedel said...

Thanks for sharing the post amd info.. That is something that calls for a certain attention..
Indeed you are right.