No fowarding address: USPS mulls cuts to post office locations

Mar 16, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that the U.S. Postal Service is hoping to close a series of post offices around the country to save money. From the article:

"Beginning in March, the agency will start the process of closing as many as 2,000 post offices, on top of the 491 it said it would close starting at the end of last year. In addition, it is reviewing another 16,000—half of the nation's existing post offices—that are operating at a deficit, and lobbying Congress to allow it to change the law so it can close the most unprofitable among them. The law currently allows the postal service to close post offices only for maintenance problems, lease expirations or other reasons that don't include profitability."

This may further inconvenience many rural Michangders, who may already have limited mail delivery and mail pickup options. From the same WSJ article:

"The news is crushing in many remote communities where the post office is often the heart of the town and the closest link to the rest of the country. Shuttering them, critics say, also puts an enormous burden on people, particularly on the elderly, who find it difficult to travel out of town."

A regional spokesperson from the post office says that the postal service may focus on shutting down offices in cities with multiple P.O. locations.

Samiya Bashir is writer who lives in Ann Arbor. While there are no specific plans to close any of the post offices in the city, I asked her how a closure like those suggested would affect her:

I use a P.O. Box for most of my mail -- as someone who has moved around a lot I got used to doing that and it keeps things smooth and easy for me.

Obviously as a writer, I am constantly running down postmark deadlines, and one of the great things about living downtown is being able to run to the Post Office quickly and beat the postmark deadline.

If I had to run to Stadium--which means traffic, parking nightmares, HUGE lines, etc. then I just wouldn't make it sometimes.

Ms. Bashir also believes the USPS to be more reliable than comparable private services:

Shutting down Post Offices is just a bad idea.

They're throwing the money into the hands of the private UPS and FedEx stores -- I'll choose Priority Mail & Tracking over UPS/FedEx any day, but if they make me go with what's closest and open I'll have to do that -- but I'll be very sad.

A date has not be set for decisions regarding specific post office closures.

According the Huliq.com, the Postal Service's current budget deficit is $8.5 billion.

- Brian Short - Michigan Radio Newsroom