Postal Proposal Makes Room for 'Business Class.' (United States Postal Service; Mail Classification; Postal Rates) (Update)

Article excerpt

BALHARBOUR, FLA. -Following a rate case that turned out differently than planned, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has decided to do some soul-searching. it is working on what could be a major realignment of mail classifications, wherein first and third class would be redefined in subclasses of a new "business class."

In an unrelated development, the USPS Board of Governors has approved the hiring of a consulting firm to study the USPS since the 1971 Postal Reorganization Act, with the objective of suggesting changes in the rate making process.

The reclassification project--headed by Charles McBride, director of USPS strategic services integration-is being drawn up for a series of rate filings with the Postal Rate Commission beginning later this year.

The proposed categories are designed primarily with three types of mailers in mind: firms that mail bills, which must go out first class; direct mailers that are willing to pay a little more for better service; and parcel shippers looking for a simpler system that would do away with the one-pound limit between the existing third and fourth classes.

Among the changes being proposed by McBride's group are the following:

* The creation of "Class A Preferred Service." Included in it would be subclass Al, which is similar to the current first class rate category for single piece, pre-sort and prebarcoding. Another subclass, A2, would apply to expanded automation and bulk entry requirements.

* The creation of "Class B Standard Service." Within this category would be a subclass B1 that is similar to current bulk third and bulk fourth classes, and rate categories for presort, prebarcoding, shape and drop-shipping. …