The U.S. Postal Service last week announced a new plan to reduce the hours of operation for several thousand post offices, including some in this area, as a way to avoid closing them.
According to a press release issued last week, the plan would keep the existing post offices in place, but with modified retail window hours to match customer use. Access to the retail lobby and to post office boxes would remain unchanged. A town’s ZIP code and community identity would be retained.
Post offices in Warren County that will see their retail hours reduced are in Marthasville and Dutzow. Under the proposed plan, the Marthasville facility would be open for six hours, down from eight, while Dutzow’s hours would be cut in half from eight to four.
Other nearby post offices that will be affected include Augusta (reduced hours from eight to four), Jonesburg (reduced hours from eight to six) and Truxton (reduced from eight to four).
The new plan released last week comes several months after postal officials released a list of approximately 3,700 retail offices that were to be studied to determine customer needs and the possibility of future closure. Truxton, was one of the 167 post offices in Missouri on the list to be reviewed. Most of the offices that were to be reviewed were in rural areas and have low volumes of business, according to postal offices.
Under the latest plan, it appears Truxton and other facilities on the list will now remain open. Postal officials plan to reduce hours for 13,000 facilities.
It’s not known exactly when the changes to the operating hours will be made. Postal officials said the new strategy would be phased in over two years and would not be completed until September 2014.
Once implementation is completed, the postal service estimates to save a half billion dollars annually, according to a news release.
“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,” said Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe.
"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.”
According to the news release, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will review the postal service’s plan prior to any changes being made. Community meetings will be conducted to review the changes in greater detail, according to postal officials.
A survey conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) in February showed 54 percent of rural customers would prefer the new solution to maintain a local post office, postal officials said. Forty-six percent prefer one of the previously announced solutions (20 percent prefer Village Post Office, 15 percent prefer providing services at a nearby post office, 11 percent prefer expanded rural delivery).