There’s been a lot of talk recently about the Postal Service making changes and “slowing down the mail,” using terms like service standards and service targets. Don’t understand what any of this means? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Shedding some light on this subject is the topic of our recently released report, A Primer on Service Standards.  

The report explains the previously mentioned service performance measurements – service standards and service performance targets. A service standard is the number of days USPS expects it should take to deliver a specific type of mail. For example, Priority Mail currently has a one-to-three-day service standard. That means if you go to your local post office and mail a piece of Priority Mail, it should take one to three days to reach your recipient. Marketing Mail, on the other hand, should take three to 10 days. To change service standards, the Postal Service must follow certain procedures, including consulting its regulator, the Postal Regulatory Commission. That is what all the recent news is about — the Postal Service is in the process of changing its Service Standards for single-piece First-Class Mail and First-Class Package Service.

Service performance targets, relatedly, measure the Postal Service’s success in meeting its service standards. They are expressed in terms of a percentage. For example, the current service target for First-Class single-piece mail with a 2-day service standard is 87.81 percent. This means USPS’s goal is to meet the service standard for 87.81 percent of that type of mail. Like service standards, service performance targets vary by the type of mail. Unlike service standards, changes to service performance targets don’t need to be reviewed by the regulator. They do need to be approved by the Postal Service’s executive leadership and its Board of Governors. The Postal Service has said it will increase its service targets for all mail to 95 percent once it has implemented all parts of its 10-year plan.

Want to know more about these service measurements, how USPS measures their success, and how all of this relates to USPS’s planned changes? Read about it in our paper.

Comments (17)

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  • anon

    From: Felicia Gates (Property Staff) Date: October 12, 2021, 3:27 pm Subject: Mailbox Area Good afternoon, When the mail was delivered today, it was discovered that the are mailboxes had been broken into. A police report has been filed. In the meantime until the contractor repairs the boxes, you will need to come into the office during office hours to get to the mail area. If you have any information on who may have done this please let us know. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding. Sincerely, Your Community Team. To reply to this message, follow this link This violation of the law.. You are notice me, have mail Pick up post office.. Stop this immediately. Never give this manager my mail ever since this my rights. Please asked mail lady contact me at my door.

    Oct 14, 2021
  • anon

    I do NOT support any measures that will further slow what is now a snail mail service. Letters and parcels that used to take 2-3 days for delivery are now being stretched out to 10-15 delivery days. Overseas slow boat from China mail is getting to be faster. USPS is setting itself up for privatized competition. As it is now we are looking at delivery times that used to be the normal for packages sent to our troops, but for domestic mail?!?!?! There are now several USPS black holes where mail in just goes missing. Slow it down even more so we can never rely on delivery??? NO!

    Oct 11, 2021
  • anon

    1st of all I'd like to know why no one answers the phone at my local post office. 2nd why was mail being delivered at 7:30 p.m. 4 days ago on my street? There were 3 mail trucks delivering mail at that time. This is absolutely ridiculous!

    Oct 01, 2021
  • anon

    Your local station shouldn't have given out their number for the simple reason that stations don't have staff to stand by on phones. Clerks are at the windows, carriers are on the street and if anything happens so are the supervisors. The set of facts, 3 carriers on one section of a route at 7:30 suggest that your station was barely able to staff its routes with ordinary overtime but something happened. Could be illness a vehicle breakdown, a dog attack etc. And when two or three carriers finished their ordinary overtime under penalty overtime conditions flooded your route to finish it as early as possible instead of leaving one carrier to do what he can before the 12 hour limit saw him bring back a portion of that route undelivered to wait for the next day.

    Oct 13, 2021
  • anon

    Transporting paper mail is like riding the train from NY to LA. Nostalgia, warmth as one commenter put it, has a cost and that cost should be fully borne by those utilizing the service. Fifty five cents is a very small price to pay in a five dollar coffee world. USPS creates a lot of global warming emissions which should be calculated into pricing such as carbon taxing. Digitization of mail as an option could be applied as credit to recipient for future mailings as an example while those wanting the full “experience” of hard paper in hand are not affected at all. USPS does not have any competition and it’s large enough, technology savvy enough, and mostly staffed well enough to run on it’s own and even pay back tax payer bailouts. Maybe high cost areas like NY and CA have higher priced stamps for letters and packages originating from those locations in order to pay workers premium wage required to live in those areas. Automation, deregulation, dynamic market based pricing, tiered serving, and ability to temporarily augment staff to handle peaks would bring USPS in line with expanded consumer demands and desires. The first tiered servicing features should be optional Saturday delivery as other delivery providers do. A 2 day letter mailed on Thursday would have a target date no earlier than on Monday.

    Sep 23, 2021
  • anon

    Package has been stuck in Kansas for 4 days asked for any update, got a response covid related be patience, sorry to hear that. we had No notification from postal system that Kansas City had issues nor do we know when anything is coming out of Kansas. Any update is better than not knowing anything

    Sep 23, 2021
  • anon

    I've been around on this planet a long, time, and am a big USPS user and I have to say we probably have the best mail service in the world. A small caveat is that it may not stay that way with it's current leader but hopefully that error can be corrected. Back to what I was saying: I love USPS. For 75 years (I was 5 years old when I got my first letter addressed to me only), I've enjoyed the services provided by USPS. Sure, errors have been made, life is like that, but the very few were promptly corrected. As I get older, I joyfully use it more and more, sending cards, and notes, and postcards (I make myself) and, packages, to people I know in many, many places. Yes, one can stay in touch via this computer I'm typing this on (and I love my computers, make no mistake about that) but, have to tell you, there is nothing as nice as receiving a wonderful hand-written note or card from someone I love who lives far away. Computer screen just doesn't cut it for warmth, love, and my holding in my hand that card made by a friend in New York who can't draw a straight line with a ruler, who spent two hours crafting a card for me for my 80th birthday! It couldn't be more beautiful. So, get off USPS's case and help, don't hinder them in their duties - most of them do a fine job.

    Sep 21, 2021
  • anon

    The pmg I'd going to kill the service. Considering nthe fact that a trucking company linked to him just signed a $150 million contract no wonder everything is going on trucks.

    Sep 20, 2021
  • anon

    Our carrier isn’t delivering packages because they are heavy (one 30 pound and two that are approximately 50 pounds). I’ve submitted inquiries/complaints in person and online. In the only callback I received, I told the representative we’d be home the following day to help unload.The packages were still not delivered. There’s no obstructions, roaming dogs, or any other hazard. What can I do?

    Sep 20, 2021
  • anon

    Where’s my mail Day two still no mail for our street Lancaster, Pa

    Sep 18, 2021
  • anon

    Your mail is sitting at the delivery station as the postal service struggles to find enough carriers for every route. The healthy carriers finish their routes and then rotate to vacant assignments to deliver letters only after the station assures it has delivered all parcels for that day. That is to cut off the stories of dead baby chicks and medications for are veterans being delayed in favor of streets getting letters.

    Sep 23, 2021
  • anon

    I have had some mail that has never arrived like my son's ssi check this month and in top of that my public assistance case got closed because I did not receive my mail and if the supervisor was no help we have a life we depend on the mail

    Sep 16, 2021
  • anon

    Just a suggestion, if you can, you might want to have your son's SSI check automatically deposited in his checking account. Your bank can help him open the account if he doesn't have one and needs this assistance. Social Security Administration will be more than happy to assist with having the check automatically deposited. Having suggested this, when we really think about it, the USPS is fantastic especially when we realize the amount of mail/packages they handle every day. However, it doesn't hurt to let them know when there is a problem.

    Sep 17, 2021
  • anon

    I am a rural carrier out of the Bellefonte, PA Post office. I feel our main focus should be, and always has been to deliver mail as accurately as possible! However it has now turned into being overburdened with Amazon! We are doing our best to focus on mail and the Amazon packages and we are not being appropriately compensated for it! If the post office wants good, responsible, and dependable employees then they should re-evaluate how they treat and pay the employees! Our union is not doing anything to help us! Carriers/Offices that don’t get Amazon get the same rate of pay that we get and it is NOT fair! I speak for every RCA both regulars and subs when I say we are getting burnt out! I hope someone important sees this and does something about it! I love being a carrier but I don’t like working for free. I also want to feel the hard work I put in matters.

    Sep 14, 2021
  • anon

    I am sorry you aren’t being fairly compensated. I hope the situation is resolved with compensation and adequate staffing support. In the meantime, I do ask the carriers to not take it out on the customers. We didn’t make the agreement with Amazon. Penalizing us isn’t fair, either.

    Sep 20, 2021
  • anon

    Good points....Time for OIG to investigate the ongoing disaster called RECCS.... An arbiter mandated years and years ago USPS and NRLCA design a fair compensation system... It is still AWOL..... At the least OIG could investigate the impact of Amazon on rural carriers and the lack of additional pay for the additional work... Not paying for additional work is just as serious a crime as shorting hours...

    Sep 18, 2021
  • anon

    I haven't had any problems my mouth shows up as it should sometimes they do get mail that isn't mine but it's from a previous person that lived there so but I get my mail on time I think the United States postal service is doing just to find job

    Sep 14, 2021