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 (24)

  • anon

    If you treated the USPS like a business that could go OUT of business, the standards would increase. There is ZERO accountability or transparency with this organization. It's time of step into the 2022's and deliver some competance!

    Apr 20, 2022
  • anon

    Mail service on river road coming out of warrior post office in Alabama had been horrible it might run 6 or 8 at night. And not getting all of it. Might not get it at all.

    Dec 29, 2021
  • anon

    on december 14 sent from Simi Valley ca 2 packages in priority mail to france. was told that it would take 5 to 10 days to get there. today, the 28th of december ,14 days later the packages are in Los Angeles, yes Simi Valley ,LA in 14 days, honestly what a disgusting way to treat customers. should have known better, last year my packages got there a month after. and please stop using covid 19 to rationnalize your mediocre services

    Dec 28, 2021
  • anon

    We haven’t received mail delivery in 7 days over the Christmas holiday. We were told by the post office employee that our delivery person was out and that we probably won’t get mail for a while. Our bills aren’t coming in on time. Nobody has alerted us to the fact that we wouldn’t be getting our mail. We have been getting intermittent 2-3 day gaps in service for weeks. I consider this unacceptable.

    Dec 28, 2021
  • 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

    You can not get through on the phone line because of the 1000 pre-compaintifs ahead of you, asking the same questions swirling in your angry mind. Youve got your mail inhand, but need to let off some steam anyways, because its dark. The sun had set before you could thumb through the bills and the holiday cards/packages go amiss we get judged and convicted for life on that route. Have you seen a mailroom during the holidays vs 700+- home deliveries because the country celebrates on the same exact days. Could you imagine if you had to feed all the dogs in our country at the same time? And what if they were conditioned to eat at a certain time? Could you imagine their anger as they look into an empty box with salivating eagerness. Oh the anger...

    Jan 02, 2022
  • 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

    Maybe your carrier was recently injured or previously injured and had corrective surgery/surgeries from one incident that has now left them less mobile, in a weakened state, or with a prayer they heal back to norm and dont repeat that action. When a 3849 form is placed in your mailbox, you can politely retrieve it from the clerk at the front desk. Theyre super nice!

    Jan 02, 2022
  • 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

    Your statement about Amazon agreement is correct. I survived 27 yrs as a rural carrier. The last 7 years has been nothing but pure hell. The "day" we received over 400 parcels was a TOTAL SURPRISE. We had 5 rts at the time and 1 full time clerk, 1 PM, 2 clerk assistants . That day the PM was off and we had our normal 1 clerk who had to sort all the flats/letters....and surprise , now packages and not just sort, they had to be scanned in. Parcels were all over the floor. We also had no equipment to use so ea route would have their pile of packages in a bin. We had to get a sub in to try and help sort. She didnt know what route had what street etc...which is called a scheme. I will jump ahead to delivery. I usually came in 6am and started route by 830 am. I was finished by 230 ish pm. My route is salary so we did not get any more pay for the huge increase of heavy parcels. Our route starting times were changed to later and later....830am, because the clerk could not get all mail scanned sorted, I was now leaving at 11 am and still delivering till past 6pm...in the dark for most of the year. I started at age 33 and retired at age 60. I HAD to retire. I had a hard time climbing in/out mail truck 80 plus times a day and I was wore out delivering giant weird boxes that weighed 66# and I couldnt wrap my arms around . Basically I was forced into adding another job ,that was hard labor without any say, pay, anything. The town I delivered to had grown into 11rts with ea route box increase from 250 to OVER 600 stops!! The "DEAL" Amazon got has to be unreal, because the PO has not and does not have to say what the deal is, the total amt parcels showed an increase of over 500% from past year. Heres the thing. We did not get bigger building to hold all these parcels coming in for 12 rts....and the route increase was not expected, but land annexations added the huge increase in mail box deliveries. My mail truck was from 1994 and I have driven this truck since 1994-2021...its still being used....But the size did not increase. We have had to return to get packages because there was no room to get them all in for route. Gas was now being used 2x the amt. I had a 20 mile rt with 652 boxes on my last day which was "black Friday" 2020. That night at 630 pm , I still had another hour to finish...my time was 830 am -745pm, my pay was for 8,25 hrs, not the full amt I worked. I took ZERO breaks and tried to drink water, which means I had to go potty at some point. Driving back to PO , restroom time, and back to where I ended took 22 mins...I time this before. If I needed to go 2x then I lost 44 min time. I got really good peeing into a plastic tupperware container while in back of mail truck, after makeing some kind of a "wall" so no one would see and praying that no one would bang on truck trying to hand me outgoing mail that they saw mail truck and thought this will save time. I was 60 yrs old, peeing in back of mail truck...unreal. Nobody ever thinks of this. But the increase in parcels made our time out on street way longer. For 20 yrs, I was done before I need to pee. Now I was out there 3-5 hrs longer. Anyways, the parcels have been dumped on all rural carriers and as long as we do not work more the 12 hrs a day....then we get paid our normal rt pay which for most was 8.25 hrs. NOBODY was working 8.25....it was between 9-10 hrs....this INCLUDED running from mail truck to door, dropping off package and RUNNING back. I was 60 yrs old....the next oldest was 50 and 7 out of 12 rts were 30 ish yrs old so they had the physical fitness to be able to run ea and every day. I did not. I was proud to work for USPS, but the last years , I had so many people waiting for me, stopping me in middle of road all asking about a package that "was supposed to be delivered". It was nuts. The emails were from another company, NOT USPS , which we had no communication with any of that. The best was when I delivered green postcards that stated" we tried to deliver you a package, but could not" so would you call this 800#. People went nuts over this. My elderly people were very upset that this parcel did not get delivered. I had to explain many many times that this was nothing but advertisement. You cannot believe how the mail upsets the elderly by mailing them letters, that was "bulk-business-mail" = meaning junk ....( we are not supposed to say this) telling them they were going to lose their SSI. I have rambled on and sorry for this. The USPS is in REAL trouble since the NEW Postmaster General has cut full shifts out completely at sorting facilities and also took about a few of the machines...which was right before the election. There is no new vehicles for rural carriers, and these are way past their 25 yr as a LLV. Its a mess. i thank God that I did get my pension, but I know many will not be physically able to put the 20-25 yrs fulltime it takes to get this because of body break-downs.

    Nov 29, 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