As the holiday mailing season swings into gear, those lines at the post office will be growing longer — or not. The U.S. Postal Service has launched what it hopes will be a time-saving, line-trimming effort in 15 Iowa post offices. Richard Watkins as a spokesman for the postal service’s Hawkeye District. The 15 automated postal centers, or A-P-Cs, are similar to automated teller machines and allow customers to do their mailing and shipping without having to wait in line, which Watkins says is “especially critical” as the holiday rush approaches. He explains what services customers can access at the A-P-Cs.Watkins says the A-P-C lets customers weigh and mail letters and parcels and purchase stamps. They don’t take cash but do take credit and debit cards. They also dispense postage in any amount for Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail and Parcel Post. The A-P-C also provides mailing information, ZIP Code lookup and Delivery Confirmation services. Watkins says the key is to help minimize waiting time for Iowa postal customers. He says they were test-marketed in major markets around the U-S earlier this year and the response was overwhelmingly positive from customers and postal employees. The A-P-Cs are now located in: Cedar Rapids (3), Bettendorf (2), Des Moines (3), Iowa City, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Mason City, Sioux City, Ames and Ankeny. Many of them are open round-the-clock.
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