USPS to cut hours at thousands of mainly rural post offices

WEST POINT, KY (WAVE) - The United States Postal Service recently announced thousands of post offices across the nation will have their window hours cut. It's a compromise the Postal Service made so it wouldn't have to close locations. The post offices affected are mainly in rural areas. The USPS said it's a move that's expected to save $500 Million.

In the small Hardin County town of West Point, a new mailbox is going in at a post office people said is important to the town.

"The people around here, they don't have to use a lot of gas," said Jennifer Taylor, of West Point. "They can walk to everything that they need to do. So, it's really handy."

The USPS announced a new plan last week that affects West Point and thousands of other post offices. According to David Walton, a USPS spokesman, thousands of locations aren't making enough money to cover expenses.

"We get no tax dollars," said Walton. "So, we have to make these changes. The post offices that we're looking at, we're reducing those hours and it's going to be based on their traffic. How much workload they have."

WAVE 3 obtained the 260 page list of affected post offices. There are 13,000 across the country. Seven hundred in Kentucky alone and 70 in southern Indiana. Some locations are reducing daily hours retail hours from 8 down to 2. West Point will reduce from 8 hours to 4 a day.

"I am so mad I could spit at it!" Exclaimed Tressie Samples, of West Point. When asked why, she said "From closing it. Even part-time. We're too old. This is an old community here! We're too old to be going to Shively!"

"I think it would probably be a good thing," said Victor Rumble, of Louisville. "Because I work a lot in rural Kentucky and they have these little one room post offices out the back that are open part of the day. They could be consolidated."

Non-executive postmasters are offered an early retirement incentive or can look for new jobs with the Postal Service. WAVE 3 asked Walton how can a postal employee be expected to make a living of working 2, 4 or 6 retail hours a day?

He responded "Well, again, that's why we're offering this financial incentive for them to take an early out if they so desire to do so. Again, there are a lot of openings at the post office right now, so they could switch to another office."

"It's going to put a strain on him, the postmaster," said Ted Akin, who lives in West Point. "This way, it's restricting you. Just for that 4 hours where you did have 8 hours. That takes some getting used too."

"That still stinks," said Samples. "We need it all day."

In response to upset customers, Walton said "There are other options that they could do. We have a new concept called a 'Village Post Office'. That's a post office that we set up within an existing business. In many cases, those are actually better than a post office."

Walton said the USPS previously held meetings with residents in affected areas and their concerns were heard loud and clear. In the next few months, Walton said the USPS will be meeting with residents to get their input. These changes, according to Walton, are expected to be in place September 2014.

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