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Starting Friday, it’s going to take longer for some mail to be delivered

September 30, 2021, 4:08 PM UTC

You’re going to need to send your holiday cards to friends on the other side of the country a good bit earlier this year.

Starting Friday, the U.S. Postal Service will enact new service standards that will result in longer transit times, meaning possible delays—especially when letters and packages are traveling long distances.

As much as 40% of the letters, periodicals, and packages sent via First Class mail could see slowdowns. That works out to a little more than 21 million pieces of mail, as judged by 2020 figures.  

The changes are part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s controversial 10-year plan for the agency. DeJoy maintains the slowdown, along with higher prices, will help the USPS cut its deficits by as much as $160 billion. Many Democrats oppose the plan and have called for DeJoy’s removal. (DeJoy is a major donor to the GOP and Donald Trump, who appointed him to the job.)

Historically, First Class mail was delivered within one to three days. Under the new standards, that’s being extended to five. Postal officials say mail traveling within a local area will continue to be delivered in one or two days.

It’s not the first time the USPS has found itself swirling in controversy this year. In August, the Postal Service said it would add surcharges onto holiday packages shipped between Oct. 3 and Dec. 26 to help offset higher shipping costs. You can expect to pay anywhere from an extra 25 cents to an extra $5, depending on the size of the package and the distance it needs to travel. The extra charges will apply to both individuals and corporations.

This comes one year after the division was overwhelmed with packages and many consumers reported substantial delays during the holiday season.

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