Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 7, 2013

No mail delivery on Saturdays: Area residents’ reactions mixed

GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — A U.S. Postal Service plan to save money by stopping Saturday mail deliveries drew mixed reactions Wednesday soon after the agency announced its plans.

In its announcement, the struggling agency’s officials said they planned to improve the Postal Service’s financial situation by cutting back on Saturday mail delivery. The cutback would begin in August, but mail carriers would continue delivering packages six days a week.

People at the Mercer Mall had varying reactions to the idea of less mail on Saturday. One person thought the Postal Service could find other ways to save money.

“They should cut back on some of the salaries of the higher executives and the bonuses they get when their businesses are failing,” said Joyce Meadows, 68, of Princeton.

Meadows added that some people could do without Saturday mail delivery, but the  Postal Service should look at other ways to save money before reducing services.

“I don’t really care,” Julie Fowler, 43, of Athens replied when asked about the announcement. However, the service should keep post offices open on Saturday because many people who work cannot take care of their mail at any other time, she said.

Another Mercer County resident felt that cutting back on Saturday deliveries was better than closing more post offices.

“I think that’s going to be better than losing a post office somewhere,” said Don Gibson, 87, of Bluefield. “Instead, they would be losing only one day.”

One Tazewell County resident felt that losing Saturday deliveries would inconvenience people who depend on the mail for paying bills in a timely manner.

“Well, that’s going to hurt a lot of people because they can’t get their mail in time, especially on the first of the month when you’re paying bills,” said Phyllis Lester, 61, of Tazewell, Va.

Two Lewisburg residents visiting Mercer County said that getting mail during the weekend was a good thing.

“Well, it’s nice to get your mail on Saturday,” said Rosie Rusyn, 46. “I know the effect the Internet has had on the Postal Service, but I’m still old school. I don’t do anything on the Internet. It’s all by mail.”

Her husband, Matt Rusyn, 50, agreed that getting mail on Saturday was still good even if it included some junk mail.

Lawmakers issued statements saying they would continue their efforts to preserve rural post offices.

“I share the frustration of many West Virginians who believe that the Postal Service is intent upon achieving cost savings through service reductions at rural postal facilities,” said U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. “I continue to fight these efforts and have communicated my concern repeatedly to both the Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission.”

Postal services play a “tremendous role” in the ability of West Virginians to stay connected, Rahall said.

“I am disappointed in the Postal Service’s decision to end Saturday deliveries,” U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. said. “In our rural areas, these postal facilities are more than just places to send and receive mail – they are truly the lifelines of their communities and can be the only way a town is able to stay connected. Although the Postal Service must cut back on spending and get its fiscal house in order, cutting the muscle instead of the fat from its budget will not benefit the agency and will harm our communities in West Virginia and across our country.”