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June 25th, 2002

Another Rate Hike

Here’s a reminder for you folks: starting next week, the USPS rate hike goes into effect. A regular letter will increase almost 9% from 34 cents to 37 cents. Even with this pretty significant increase and that “the rise in rates will likely generate in excess of $4 billion in revenue annually”, the postal service “is still not expected to run profitably in the near term.” Wow.

The previous increase, from 33 cents to 34 cents, was the shortest period between rate increases (12 months) . The current 34 cent letter rate has been in effect for almost three-and-a-half years and the next change will not come until at least January 2004. At least they’re no longer considering stopping Saturday delivery.

Is raising prices without really offering any increased service a good move? Or does it spell the beginning of the end for the USPS as we know it?

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Chris
DATE: Tuesday June 25, 2002 -- 8:10:52 am
How much first class mail do you actually send anymore? We pay many bills online. When buying something on Ebay recently, I found myself refusing to bid on any auction that required me to mail a check. If they couldn't do credit card or paypal I was not buying.

Snail mail is not going away anytime soon, but the USPS cost structure is out of line. Also, I've noticed that our Saturday mail rarely includes any first class mail. I would not be bothered at all if the canned general delivery on Saturday and just delivered first class and priority stuff.

FROM: Paul [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday June 25, 2002 -- 8:37:34 am
It's mostly bills and contracts that I mail. I'm not super pleased with the rate hike, but then again, it's "only" 37 cents. That's not a lot of money on the grand scheme of things.

I still hold the opinion that the USPS should just bust it up to 50 cents and be done with rate hikes for a good 10-15 years or so. Yes, there'd be a lot of hootnanny over it, but arguably no more than when we have these little 3 cent increases.

Chris: we do get first class mail on Saturdays 'round these parts.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday June 25, 2002 -- 11:56:44 am
A piddling 37 cents for a first-class anything is a bargain in my book.

FROM: King Random
DATE: Tuesday June 25, 2002 -- 12:44:29 pm
I figure, most of the stuff that is sent snail mail anymore is packages and important documents. I think USPS needs to hike up the price, and use the money to make the system more secure and quick. They could also make it more package friendly. This way, the systemsl like Fed Ex wouldn't get all the priority delivery, and the USPS would get more business. Letter writing, at least on paper, is out of fashion, and I think the postal service needs to update thier services with the times, instead of just thier prices.

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