Postal Service Won't Close Mass. Offices, Will Cut Hours

On Wednesday, the U.S. Postal Service dropped its plan to close thousands of post offices nationwide and, as the Washington Post reports, "instead will drastically reduce hours at most of its rural operations."

The decision, our Newscast unit has reported, will spare 58 post offices in Massachusetts from closure.

According to the Postal Service's list (see page 90 of this PDF), 23 Massachusetts post offices will have their hours cut from eight to four, and 32 locations will go from eight hours to six.

Additionally, the post offices in Lake Pleasant and Cuttyhunk will go from six hours to two, and the Wendell Depot branch will be reduced from eight hours to two.

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said the service decided to drop its earlier plan after hearing complaints from rural areas, and their lawmakers. According to the Post, he said:

When we announced those closures, what people said to us was, "Keep our post office open." We have to have shorter hours. But if we can shrink the labor costs, we can keep the buildings open.

Last year, the Boston Globe reported on the post office on Cuttyhunk, the outermost of the Elizabeth Islands, after it was listed among the Postal Service's more than 3,600 potential closures nationwide.

"We don’t have an alternative," an islander said. "It’s not like we can jump in the car and drive to the next town." The Globe noted that the closest town "is 14 miles of ocean away."

The debt-ridden Postal Service is headed for an estimated $14 billion loss this year, and continues to seek a legislative solution to its fiscal woes.

This program aired on May 10, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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