WASHINGTON—The Postal Service announced today that 413 retail stations and branches remain under consideration for possible consolidation. Today’s announcement updates a study begun earlier this summer that examined a wide range of stations and branches in urban and suburban areas across the country, focusing on offices in close proximity to determine where consolidations might be feasible, while maintaining customer access to postal services.
With nearly 37,000 Post Offices, stations, branches, contract and community post offices, the U.S. Postal Service has the largest retail network in the United States. In addition, about 56,000 other locations such as supermarkets, drug stores, and other retailers sell postage and selected postal services. Nearly 18,000 automated teller machines (ATMs) also dispense sheets of stamps. And, postage can be purchased and printed on personal computers at usps.com.
The only provider of mail service to every home and business address in the country, the Postal Service is committed to providing reliable, secure, affordable postal services with convenient access. Unlike most federal agencies, America’s national mail system receives no tax subsidy for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.
The current deep national recession has exacerbated erosion in First-Class Mail volumes due to a change in consumer preferences to electronic systems for instant messaging, invoicing and bill payment. Mail volume in 2009 is projected to be as much as 20 billion fewer pieces than in 2008. Still, mail volume in 2009 will be in the neighborhood of 170 billion pieces of mail.
To offset the current extremely difficult financial position, the Postal Service has successfully removed more than $6 billion in cost in 2009, including:
- Cutting more than 100 million work hours, the equivalent of 57,000 positions;
- Closing six district administrative offices;
- Adjusting carrier routes to reflect diminished volume and eliminating nearly 12,000 carrier routes;
- Instituting a nationwide hiring freeze;
- Reducing authorized staffing levels at national and regional offices by 15 percent;
- Selling unused and under-utilized postal facilities;
- Adjusting Post Office hours to better reflect customer use;
- Consolidating mail processing operations;
- Halting construction of new postal facilities; and
- Freezing salaries of all Postal Service officers and executives.
Additional efficiency initiatives are continuing. Reducing over-capacity in retail and delivery operations is a good business move. Every effort will be made to maintain and improve customer access to postal services.
Today’s announcement is part of the Station and Branch Optimization and Consolidation initiative that is currently being reviewed by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). As part of this proceeding, the Postal Service is required to file with the PRC the names of facilities under review.
The filing does not represent a final decision on consolidation. No final actions will be taken regarding consolidation as a result of this initiative until after Oct. 2, 2009.
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An independent federal agency, the U.S. Postal Service is the only delivery service that reaches every address in the nation, 149 million residences, businesses and Post Office Boxes, six days a week. It has 34,000 retail locations and relies on the sale of postage, products and services, not tax dollars, to pay for operating expenses. Named the Most Trusted Government Agency five consecutive years by the Ponemon Institute, the Postal Service has annual revenue of $75 billion and delivers nearly half the world’s mail.