The US Postal Service announced today that it will reduce its costs by shortening hours at about 13,000 post offices rather than shutting down 3,000 rural post offices, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The post offices will open for between two and six hours a day, permitting residents of rural communities to send mail and check their post office boxes, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
“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,” Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe said in a statement, according to the LA Times. “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.”
The move is expected to save $500 million annually, once fully implemented in 2014, Reuters reported. Depriving hundreds of rural communities of their post offices would have saved $200 million a year.
The Postal Service is facing yearly losses of $18 billion by 2015 if the agency doesn’t make big changes, many of which require congressional approval, Reuters reported.
Reducing hours at post offices will allow USPS to replace some full-time postmasters with part-time workers, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek:
It plans to offer buyouts for the nation's more than 21,000 postmasters, noting that more than 80 percent of its postal costs in rural areas are labor-related.
Postal officials said the agency would allow each community to choose whether to keep their local post office open part-time or to close it and keep a nearby post office open full-time, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
"At the end of the day, we will not close rural post offices until we receive community input," Megan Brennan, the Postal Service's chief operating officer, said, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. "We believe very few post offices will be closed over the next few years."