The financially struggling U.S. Postal Service's decision to stop delivering mail Saturdays drew a mixed response Wednesday from visitors to Westport's main postal branch in the Playhouse Square shopping center on Post Road East.
"If we start doing closings like this, who knows how pervasive it will get to be?" said Maggie Dunford, a clinical social worker. "Maybe we're going to end up with [delivery] two times a week? What's going to evolve from this? If we allow this, then it will just snowball into something else."
The end of Saturday deliveries could further dent Postal Service revenues, said Nancy Sachs, a lawyer.
"In the absence of they're being able to deliver on Saturday, people will use other services," Sachs said. "Once you use FedEx, you're more likely to use them in general for other services. Why if you can simply go to FedEx once, would you go to FedEx for one package and Postal Service for a second service?"
Other visitors to the Playhouse Square postal branch Wednesday said they were not bothered by the potential end of Saturday deliveries.
"They need to do something and it's perfectly fine," said Rosemary Smith, who works at Saugatuck Congregational Church. "They should've done it years ago."
The decision to end Saturday mail deliveries -- packages will still be delivered -- is expected to save about $2 billion, postal officials said.
The cutback will likely begin in August.
The move accentuates one of the agency's strong points -- package delivery has increased by 14 percent since 2010, officials say, while the delivery of letters and other mail has declined with the increasing use of email and other Internet outlets.
Under the new plan, mail would still be delivered to post office boxes Saturdays. Post offices now open on Saturdays also would remain open on Saturdays.
Over the past several years, the Postal Service has advocated shifting to a five-day delivery schedule for mail and packages -- and it repeatedly but unsuccessfully appealed to Congress to approve the move. Though an independent agency, the service gets no tax dollars for its day-to-day operations but is subject to congressional control.
It was not immediately clear how the service could eliminate Saturday mail without congressional approval.
But the agency clearly thinks it has a majority of the American public on its side regarding the change.
Material prepared for the announcement by Patrick R. Donahoe, postmaster general and CEO, says Postal Service market research and other research has indicated that nearly 7 in 10 Americans support the switch to five-day delivery as a way for the Postal Service to reduce costs.