The United States Postal Service has announced a plan that will keep thousands of small and rural post offices open – cancelling an earlier plan to close up to 3,700 locations. The new plan will keep the current post office locations in place but will modify their hours of operation.
Lobby and post office box services will remain the same, but over 13,000 smaller post offices could reduce their business day to two to six hours, including over a dozen location in Blanco, Martindale, Maxwell and Caldwell counties.
Postmaster General and USPS CEO Patrick R. Donahoe cites demand from customers as the reason for the shift. “We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the Postal Service return to long-term financial stability,” he says in a press release.
A survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation showed 54 percent of rural post office customers support the new plan, while 46 percent support previous plans, including an increase in “village” post offices (operated inside local businesses), or having service moved to a nearby office.
If enacted, the strategy will be phased in over the next two years. The Postal Service estimates savings of over half a billion dollars annually.
The USPS will submit a request for advisory review by the Postal Regulatory Commission later this month. After the PRC review, local communities will then be given the opportunity to review all available options.
If implemented, the plan will be completed by September 2014. For a list of all the affected areas, click here.