Meetings are planned this month in more than 100 Iowa towns where the U.S. Postal Service plans to reduce hours at post offices. Peter Hass, a spokesperson for the U.S.P.S. in Iowa, says window hours could be reduced to 2, 4 or 6 hours a day depending on the location.
“We want to hear our customers’ feedback on what their preferences are and we’re going to be doing community meetings in every community where we have a proposed change in the retail hours for a post office,” Hass said. The USPS originally proposed closing 3,700 rural post offices around the country to cut costs, but altered the plan to simply reduce retail hours.
Hass notes access to a post office’s P.O. Boxes would remain the same under the plan – only access to a clerk to buy stamps or mail a package would be limited. The meetings happening in Iowa begin next week. Hass said Iowans who can’t attend a meeting in their community can still provide feedback.
“Prior to the meetings, we’re sending out notifications to our customers in those communities with a survey, so they can provide their input in that way as well,” Hass said. The USPS is searching for ways to cut costs in response to a 25% drop in mail volume in the past five years. The plan to reduce rural post office hours is projected to save the Postal Service $500 million a year.