Postal Service Maybe Not Closing As Many Post Offices As Planned

It was last July that the US Postal Service announced it was considering closing around 3,700 of its approximately 32,000 outlets around the country, many of them in rural areas. But earlier today the Postmaster General unveiled yet another plan that could keep hundreds of these offices from closing outright.

Rather than shutter those post offices completely, they would be open with reduced hours, said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, who says the newest plan would save the struggling USPS half a billion dollars annually.

Of course, with USPS set to lose about $14 billion this year, that’s barely a dent in the problem. More details on that will come out tomorrow when the Postal Service announces its first quarter 2012 financial results.

The Service’s plans to cut service and close thousands of post offices, hundreds of distribution centers, and lay off thousands more employees have been stalled while lawmakers in Washington, D.C., mull over other proposals for saving the USPS.

Postal Service Holds Back on Closures [NY Times]

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  1. FatLynn says:

    Oh, I know!!! Let’s get rid of the Bush-era law that forces their pensions to be 100% funded up front!

    Do I win a cookie?

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      If only that could be put into action. A lot of people would like to win ‘you keep your job!’.

    • Liam Kinkaid says:

      100% funded? Hell, if they only had to be 100% funded, that’d be a plus. They’re overfunding for future employees that haven’t even been born yet. 75 years in advance funding is a long time.

      Of course, that nest egg of pensions will be a great thing when certain congress people get their way and spin off the USPS to private companies. Then postage rates will skyrocket, service will decline, and kickbacks will flow like manna from heaven.

  2. MrMagoo is usually sarcastic says:

    My local post office already has reduced hours, being open from 8:30 to 5:00. That’s really helpful for those times I want to drop a package off on my way to or from work.

    • lastingsmilledge says:

      my two local PO’s (in the suburbs of CT, not some rural pony express village) are open 9-4, or 9-5 with a 2hr lunch break between 12 and 2. i’d much rather have one of them close in exchange for the other to be open 8 – 5:30.

    • retailriter says:

      Mine closes completely from 12 – 1 for “lunch”.

  3. crispyduck13 says:

    So how much money would be saved by actually closing those 3,700 locations? How much would be saved by eliminating Saturday delivery? How much would be gained by actually charging businesses properly for the junk mail they send out?

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      +1

      I’m on a rural route, and I think it’s so pointless to have someone bring junk mail and Netflix DVD’s to my mailbox 6 days per week. I’d be happy with 2 days per week. And I don’t know why we couldn’t have a neighborhood outdoor mailbox setup so the carrier could stop at just a few locations in the township instead of every mailbox along the road.

      Surely that would save money!

      • fsnuffer says:

        It wouldn’t save any money. If they went to 2 days a week, Congress would still not let them cut employees so they would have the same number of people standing around idle for more time

      • fredbiscotti says:

        This is how it’s done in Canada, roughly.

      • StarKillerX says:

        I’ve said for years now that residential mail delivery should move to 3 days a week, with one area getting thiers Mon-Wed-Fri and the neighboring area on Tues-Thurs-Sat and at the same time

        The same could be done for most businesses as well, although there should be a method for a businesses that still rely heavily on mail to get delivers Mon-Fri

      • MrEvil says:

        My dad lives in the country and he has never taken mail delivery at the farm. He drives a mile and a half to the post office and picks up his mail from his PO Box like several other folks in his community.

    • bhr says:

      Junk mail, or technically bulk mail, is the only reason the postal service is solvent. Raise the price to regular mail costs and companies will either find a 3rd party service to provide delivery or stop sending it (which would bankrupt the USPS even if the pension rules change)

      • Posthaus says:

        BULLSHIT. Junk mail costs more than it brings in.

        Bulk mail and special rates for periodical publishers have had their reduced rates subsidized by first class and premium services. But every time there has been a proposal to raise the special pre-sort rates, direct mailers and the periodical publishing world has a literal shit fit to Congress and the PRC. Thus rate increases (when they’re even allowed to raise them at all) have never been enough to cover additional costs.

  4. Invader Zim says:

    There hours are so sucky in my area that you can’t get to them before they close or after they open. It’s like they want me to go somewhere else, and I do.

  5. jojo319 says:

    This mess is 100% congresses fault. They have been asking to close branches and cut hours, but they need congresses approval. Which they will not get because congress doesn’t have the courage to tell their constituents that branches are closing in their districts. So instead they are trying to pass another bailout to pay for these money-losing branches so they can postpone the inevitable for a few more years. Meanwhile the taxpayers will have to fund this mess (we’ve been spared this so far).

    • ole1845 says:

      You hit the nail on the head. Post Office is to be run like a business, but when they want to close down underperforming locations (like a real business) congress steps in and tells them no. Too many constituents cry to their congressmen that the closing of their towns post office will kill the town.

  6. StarKillerX says:

    While the whole pension funding fiasco needs to be addressed it’s only a symptom of the larger problem and that is trying to run a business when any changes requires congressional approval.

    Congress needs to step out of the picture and stop micromanaging the USPS, and instead allow those who are paid to run it to actually do their job.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Very much agree.

    • OldSchool says:

      “While the whole pension funding fiasco needs to be addressed”:

      Whenever i see statements like this it genuinely irks me because virtually no public pension programs (including Social Security) would be having any difficulties at all if the goverment bodies responsible for them had made the necessary contributions for their employees on an ongoing basis rather then effectively stealing that money for other puroposes. Why there has been no legislation mandating that it be done ages ago boggles my mind but then corruption in goverment runs very deep indeed.

  7. ferozadh says:

    Get rid of postal offices and put them in convenience stores and gas stations…like they do you know everywhere else in the world. Pumping out more junk mail is not the answer.

    • gman863 says:

      +1

      A few of the banks located inside supermarkets and Walmarts in the Houston area have become contract Post Offices. Given their location, most of these bank/Post Office combos are open extended hours including evenings and weekends.

      Any “real” Post Office that has a low volume of customers (especially those in podunk areas that only serve a few hundred people) should get the axe. So long as people get their mail, there is no god-given right for people who live in the middle of nowhere to have a personal Post Office that bleeds red ink.

  8. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    I’ve come to love the stamps.com feature on the USPS website. I haven’t set foot in a post office for years. YEARS, I TELL YOU!

    The only speed bump I might see if they start closing branches is a reduced turnaround on my NetFlix, which would kinda suck.

  9. jeffpiatt says:

    What they need to do is set up locations with just automated postal centers and no staffed service desk. heck they could market those machines to retail locations to act as postal branches right down to the cart to catch the packages behind the drum.
    http://blog.uspsoig.gov/index.php/2009/24-hour-parcel-service/
    this idea looks cool.

  10. Jawaka says:

    So they buckled under pressure. So much for getting out of debt.

  11. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I wondered what the hell they were thinking when they announced they were closing my city’s main post office. The MAIN post office! We’re the third largest city in the state! But noooooo, guess we don’t deserve to be able to mail anything across town without it going all the way up to Kansas City and back. Yeah, like that’ll be cheaper.

  12. MrEvil says:

    FTA: “Visits to post offices have dropped 27 percent since 2005″

    This means one of two things are happening. One, that nobody is using the post office. Or two, that nobody is able to go to the post office when they’re open… which I think is the much more likely issue (and contributes to nobody going to the post office). The USPS has been cutting hours at some post offices to 8:30 to 4:30 M-F and even fewer hours on Saturdays. Are you freaking retarded USPS? Your retail operations are what brings in the revenue and you’re actively trying to turn customers away. That’s not how you run a business.

    Listen, if the retail counter can’t be open 9 hours a day then open it for eight and shift the hours it is open further back on the clock. Say be open from 11-7 M-F instead of 8:30 to 4:30 Now you have two full hours for customers to come in after work to pay you money for services. If you shit-can Saturday delivery that’s fine, but don’t close the retail counter. The Post office needs to be able to take people’s money. Train some people that work in the back of the post office to work the counter so they can fill in when the line starts backing up.

    Having a Post office isn’t a bad idea, but it’s gotta stop being run like a Government bureaucracy.

  13. AndreaHamlegs says:

    It’s not rocket science, Mon-Wed-Fri delivery in 50% of the areas, Tues-Thurs-Sat in the rest, lay off half of the carriers. Problem solved.