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US Postal Service to run same-day delivery trial program in San Francisco

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Earlier this week eBay formally launched its same-day delivery service eBay Now, and now it looks like the United States Postal Service itself might want to get in on the action. In a notice filed today with the Postal Regulatory Commission, the USPS stated that it planned to trial a same-day delivery service of its own called Metro Post. The trial, which will begin November 12th Bloomberg reports it will take place in San Francisco will see the USPS partnering with up to 10 online companies and their respective retail partners. Participants will be able to purchase products in three different ways: from one of the partnered e-commerce platforms, from a retail store itself, or on the website of one of the companies partaking in the service. If a purchase is made before the afternoon cut-off — 3PM is the latest time one will be able to order products — it will then be delivered to the buyer's home between 4PM and 8PM that same day.

The notice itself redacts all pricing information, but it appears that answering that question is part of the point, with the document stating that the trial will "assist the Postal Service in determining the optimal pricing structure for this type of service." It's also not yet clear what companies will be working with the Postal Service (this first phase is scheduled to run no later than January of 2013). With Metro Post planned to handle a maximum of 200 packages a day to start, it doesn't seem like the trial will make a huge impact right off the bat — but it may be just the type of opening a certain online retailer has been searching for.