Wednesday the U.S. Postal Service announced a new strategy to keep the nations smallest post offices open.
The new plan, to be implemented over a two-year period, is expected to save half a billion dollars annually and put the USPS back on a positive track. The agency has been losing money rapidly and suggestions to save it have varied from closing some post offices to cutting hours.
According to a press release, the latest strategy would keep existing post offices in place, but would modify window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and PO boxes would remain the same, as would the town’s zip code.
“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,” Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe said in the press release. “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 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.”
New options include:
- Providing mail delivery service to residents and businesses in the affected community by either rural carrier or highway contract route;
- Contracting with a local business to create a Village Post Office; and
- Offering service from a nearby post office.
The USPS will provide an opportunity for the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to review this plan prior to making any changes. Public meetings will be held in communities to review options.
A voluntary early retirement incentive for the nation’s more than 21,000 non-executive postmasters also was announced. But is it enough?
So the question today is, do you believe the USPS can be saved or are these steps just stalling the inevitable?