USPS Will Not Close Rural Post Offices, Plans To Shorten Operating Hours

The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced on Wednesday that it will not close hundreds of rural post offices but will instead attempt to cut costs by keeping those offices open for shorter hours throughout the week.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe held a press conference in which he said the new direction of the USPS will save the mail agency more than half a billion dollars per year, while at the same time addressing concerns from rural residents who would have to travel far distances to send mail without a rural office.

Under the agencies former plans up to 3,700 low-revenue post officers were slated to be closed or consolidated by a May 15 deadline, many of those offices being specifically located in rural areas. The closure of the offices was meant to help cut billions of dollars from the agencies operating expenses which in turn would save the USPS from bankruptcy.

While the new plan is far from secure the measure will allow the Postal Service to go after regulatory approval for its plans and then examine community input to see if rural customers will take to the shorter hours as a means to keep their offices open for use.

Final approval for the new plan is expected to take at least several months to come to fruition.

Other options talks about have included the removal of Saturday mail delivery, higher stamp prices and reorganizing employee pensions and health benefits, the last two optionshave been fought by unions and federal regulators at every turn.

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