Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
Snail mail is about to get even slower.
The Associated Press reports that the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service announced Monday that it plans to move quickly to close more than 250 processing centers and slow first-class delivery next year.
The plans had been broadly outlined earlier this year, but the news cemented the changes that are also expected to cut about 28,000 federal jobs. The overhaul is expected to take place in the first half of 2012 and is aimed at helping the agency right the financial ship after losing more than $5 billion in the past year.
The post office's David Williams told a news briefing that the plans will likely mean an end to the chance of stamped letters showing up at their destinations the next day. He stressed that the agency isn’t “writing off first class mail”—and that it is still committed to delivering those letters anywhere within the continental 48 within three days—but explained that the agency had to face a reality where most people use email for written communications and the Internet in general for things like paying the cable bill.
According to the AP, first-class mail volume is expected to drop by 50 percent by the end of the decade. The Post Office estimates that its changes will save it about $2.1 billion annually.