Chapter 1: Compliance with Statutory Policies
B. Service to Small or Rural Communities
(39 U.S.C. 101(B)) link to the previous page link to the next page

In enacting the Postal Reorganization Act, it was the specific intent of Congress that residents of both urban and rural communities have access to an effective Postal Service. To deliver the nationís mail, the Postal Service has established a nationwide network of facilities, centralized delivery units, and rural and highway contract delivery routes.

A change in community postal needs or the loss of suitable facilities may lead to the closing of a Post Office or its consolidation into a station, branch, or contract Post Office. Proposals to discontinue or consolidate a Post Office are carefully evaluated on a case-by-case basis consistent with the statutory criteria found in 39 U.S.C. 404(b). Formal administrative procedures have been established to review discontinuance proposals and to ensure community input and discussion. A discontinuance proposal may be appealed to the independent Postal Rate Commission. When an independent Post Office is closed or consolidated, customers are provided with comparable service.

On April 5, 2002, the Postal Service lifted the self-imposed Post Office closing moratorium that had been in effect since March 16, 1998. In late 2002, the Postal Service began to finalize the discontinuance studies on approximately 550 Post Offices in which operations were suspended because of emergency reasons, but that were backlogged prior to the moratorium. Most of these will be processed in 2003. In 2002, the Postal Service closed or consolidated five Post Offices, 76 community Post Offices, four classified branches, and six classified stations. There were no appeals to the Postal Rate Commission.

link to the previous page  link to the next page

Chapter 1 Table of Contents

A.  Fundamental Service to the People

B.  Service to Small or Rural

C.  Employee Compensation and
     Career Advancement

D.  Postal Cost Apportionment and Postal
     Ratemaking Developments

E.  Transportation Policies

F.  Postal Service Facilities, Equipment,
     and Employee Working Conditions