(September 4, 2014) WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today said he has received a confirmation from Deputy Postmaster General Ronald A. Stroman that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will adhere to its commitment in April to maintain current service hours at 30 post offices in the Bakken region that were going to have their hours reduced.
While data released last week suggested that some of the largely rural post offices warranted having their hours reduced, Stroman said the USPS recognizes the growth trend in the Bakken region and has the flexibility to consider other factors in their decision making, which Stroman referenced in an April 10, 2014 letter to Hoeven. Hoeven had written a letter to the USPS in January to press for continued improvements in service for North Dakota.
“We got a firm commitment late yesterday from the USPS that it will maintain current hours at approximately 30 post offices in the growing Bakken region, as we requested and as was promised in April,” Hoeven said. “At the same time, about 30 others are still scheduled to have their hours reduced, which we’ve asked the postal service to reevaluate in a timely manner because of the continuing growth of our state.”
Hoeven has been making the case to postal officials that North Dakota is a growing state, with increasing postal needs. He pressed the USPS to use more current data to make decisions about reducing service hours. Last week the postal service completed its updated statewide review of 278 post offices in North Dakota using Fiscal Year 2013 data on facility revenue and mail volume. The results left most post offices at current service hour levels and suggested that approximately 30 post offices might have hours reduced. An approximate breakdown of the 278 is as follows:
- 59 post offices remained or increased to 8 hour.
- About 160 post offices have already reduced retail hours beginning in January 2013.
- 30 additional post offices in the Bakken region will remain at current operational levels, as Stroman related to Hoeven in the April letter and appendix.
- About 30 post offices could be facing a reduction of service hours this year.
The USPS, however, will be scheduling community meetings to discuss any proposed reductions with citizens before those reductions go into effect, and the senator encourages citizens to show up and express their concerns. In the meantime, Hoeven is working to make sure there is adequate rural delivery, and 24 hour access to post office boxes and self-service kiosks that offer customers round-the-clock access to buy stamps, track packages and obtain other services.