After years of gross mismanagement, the United States Postal Service is attempting to right its ship. As part of that process, the USPS has announced changes that will impact everyday service and holiday mail and package delivery. Those changes take effect beginning today, and according to a report by National Public Radio, mail delivery is about to get slower and more expensive.

As of today, "the U.S. Postal Service will start to implement new service standards for first-class periodicals – slowing its target delivery time by about 30 percent," USPS spokesperson Kim Frum told NPR. While it will take longer for some mail to make it across the country and to other long-distance destinations, NPR says, "61 percent of first-class mail and 93 percent of periodicals will not be affected by these changes."

The USPS still expects to be able to deliver local letters and, yes, bills within two days of mailing, but beginning today, first-class packages will take longer to reach their destination. The price for sending all "commercial and retail domestic packages" will increase temporarily between October 3 and December 26. The price for international products will not increase, according to the report.

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The Postal Service has been hemorrhaging money for years. It reported losing some $3 billion for the quarter ending June 30, according to its website. The changes are part of a long-overdue plan to try and turn the USPS around over the next decade by investing in new technology, equipment, and vehicles to make it more competitive and cost effective.

Local post office hours are also likely to be impacted by the changes, so anyone planning to send holiday packages might want to plan to get an early start, expect to pay more, and prepare for long lines. Better yet, mail early.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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