ORLANDO, Fla. – Big changes already underway at the U.S. Postal Service could impact your holiday mail.
In March, postal leaders unveiled a new ten-year financial plan called “Delivering for America.”
According to the plan, leaders hope to generate enough revenue to bring the U.S. Postal Service back in the black after losing $87 billion over the last 14 years.
“We have needed to change for a long time,” said USPS spokesman David Walton. “The postal service has been broken.”
Part of the plan calls for a steep reduction in the amount of mail that is transported by commercial airlines.
Instead, postal officials said that mail will be transported on the ground.
“We are changing the delivery standards for some pieces of mail,” said Walton. “It depends on where they’re going and how much they weigh. So yes, there could be a maybe a day or two added on to that.”
News 6 tested the length of time it took to mail a first-class letter, and it aligned with the projections laid out by USPS.
|DELIVERY STANDARD||DISTANCE TRAVELED|
|1 DAY||Presorted & Local Mail|
|2 DAY||139 miles|
|3 DAY||140-930 miles|
|4 DAY||931-1,907 miles|
|5 DAY||1,908+ miles|
For a letter mailed from Orlando:
- Eustis, 32 miles away, it took two days to arrive.
- Charleston, SC., 377 miles away, it took four days to arrive
- Tucson, Ariz., 2,024 miles away, it took five days to arrive
- Los Angeles, 2,469 miles away, it took five days to arrive
The change in transporting mail across the country is only one facet of the program.
According to the plan, $40 billion has also been earmarked for capital investments that included a new sorting facility in Orlando.
The facility is located on South Orange Ave. in a building that once housed a Goya Foods operation.
“I was excited to see all the new technology,” said Lisa Lake, the plant’s manager. “You know, I’ve got 33 years, and so to see the evolution of the postal service from when I started to now -- It’s amazing.”
Walton said the need for the new location became apparent during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when the postal service was faced with 20 percent of their workforce being quarantined at some point and an unexpected surge in mail order delivery.
“I mean, who knew that many people were going to be ordering online? We got a billion packages last year. That was more than we’ve ever gotten,” he said. “It was very challenging. Our most challenging time of the century.”
The new facility features high-tech conveyor belts with scanners that help sort 3,000 packages per hour, as well as robots that help sort larger parcels.
USPS is also asking some of its retired workers to come back.
“Today’s my first day back. Since I’ve retired,” said Leon Ziomek. “My boss, or ex-boss, gave me a call, and said she could use the help.”
Ziomek said he was ready for the holiday rush and promised to help get cards and packages where they need to go.
“We will work 24 hours a day through the holidays and everything else. We always have,” he said. “The mail will get to where it’s got to go.”
The U.S. Postal Service has announced the following 2021 deadlines to get your mail to its destination by Christmas:
|MAIL SERVICE||SHIPPING DEADLINE|
|Retail Ground Service||December 15|
|First Class Mail||December 17|
|Priority Mail||December 18|
|Priority Mail Express||December 23|