Steve Hutkins at Save The Post Office
Save The Post Office’s Service Performance Dashboard provides easier access to recent performance reports shared by the Postal Service with the Postal Regulatory Commission, Congress, the courts (as part of litigation involving mail delays), and FOIA requests. This capability is not readily available today.
NB: This is not an official USPS website.
Charted First Class Service Performance March – Dec. 2020
Service Standards are the stated goal or operational benchmark for how many days it should take to deliver the mail. The standards are determined by the class of mail, where it originates, where it is going, and other factors, like the way it’s been presorted (or not).
Service Standards were first published in January 2007 in accordance with requirements of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006. The standards have since been changed a few times, notably in 2012 and 2015 for First Class mail. Since January 2015, the Service Standards — as set forth by federal regulations (39 CFR Part 121) — have been as follows:
- First Class Mail: 1-day, 2-day, and 3-5 days. More specifically:
- Overnight delivery for presorted mail dropped at a mail processing center (called a Sectional Center Facility, or SCF) by the Critical Entry Time (usually 8 a.m.) for delivery to zip codes within the same SCF area (within a six-hour drive or 300 miles);
- 2 days for mail to be delivered to zip codes within the SCF area;
- 3 days for mail that is transported between two or more processing centers (inter-SCF) within the continental U.S.;
- 4 or 5 days for mail originating or is destine outside the continental U.S., e.g., Hawaii and Alaska.
- Marketing Mail: 3-10 days, depending on distance, type of preparation, the time the mail is dropped off at a processing center, etc.
- Periodicals: 3-9 days, depending on distance and other factors.
To assist business mailers, the Postal Service publishes maps for each 3-digit zip code prefix showing the area that qualifies for overnight, 2-day service, 3-day, and so on. These maps can be found here.
Shipping and package services have service standards ranging from two to eight days, and Priority mail products have service standards ranging from one to three days. Classified as Competitive products, the Postal Service does not share service performance data for them, so they are not included in this dashboard.
Service Performance is the percentage of the volume delivered within the service standard for each type of mail. In years past, the Postal Service developed performance scores using a sampling method that involved an outside contractor (IBM), which had people send pieces of mail to and from various locations.
In 2015, the Postal Service changed to an internal measurement system taking advantage of the fact so much mail is being scanned. The new system tracks about two-thirds of the mail and way more than the earlier sampling method. It does not actually follow a piece of mail from deposit to delivery.
Instead, it measures the end-to-end transit time for a “virtual” piece of mail, which includes estimated time for First Mile, actual time for Processing between scans, and estimates for the Last Mile.
Service Performance Targets
Each year the Postal Service sets targets for service performance for the upcoming year.
- First Class mail, the targets are about 95 or 96 percent, and
- Marketing Mail and Periodicals, the target is about 92 percent.
The Postal Service rarely meets these targets, with First Class averaging about 92 percent and Marketing Mail and Periodicals, about 89 percent. (More details in this PRC report.)
Official sources of performance data