After nationwide protests over the proposed closing of many of its smaller Post Offices, the U. S. Postal Serviced announced last week a new plan that could save the smaller Post Offices, but still save money. The proposal would keep the existing Post Offices open, but would reduce retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the lobby and P. O. boxes would remain unchanged, and the location’s Zip Code and community identify would be retained.
For example, using The Rock Post Office, which was on the list of smaller Post Offices to be closed, retail window hours would be reduced from eight hours a day to two hours a day.
“Meeting the needs of postal customers is, and will always be, a top priority. We continue to balance that by better aligning service options with customer demand and reducing the cost to serve,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe. “With that said, we’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear – they want to keep their Post Office open. We believe this plan will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability.”
The new strategy would be implemented over a two-year, multi-phased approach and would not be completed until September 2014. Once implementation is completed, the Postal Service estimates savings of a half billion dollars annually.
“The Postal Service is committed to serving America’s communities and providing a responsible and fair approach for our employees and customers,” said Megan Brennan, Postal Service Chief Operating Officer. “The Post Offices in rural America will remain open unless a community has a strong preference for one of the other options. We will not close any of these rural Post Offices without having provided a viable solution.”
The Postal Service will provide an opportunity for the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review this plan prior to making any changes. The Postal Service intends to file a request for an advisory opinion on the plan with the PRC later this month. Community meetings would then be conducted to review options in greater detail. Communities will be notified by mail of the date, time and location of these meetings.