Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
The U.S. Postal Service is backing off plans to shutter thousands of low-revenue rural post offices.
"We’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear—they want to keep their post office open," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said Wednesday at a press conference announcing the change of heart.
Still, it's not all good news for rural communities, many of which didn't hesitate to voice their anger over the prospect of losing access to retail lobbies and P.O. boxes. The Associated Press explains that as many as 13,000 communities will see reduced hours (somewhere between two and six) and less full-time staff if the new proposal goes through as planned.
Communities could also instead opt for a so-called Village Post Office under the plan, whereby postal services are offered in libraries or local stores like Wal-Mart. That option would likely mean longer operating hours but an end to the traditional Post Office-going experience and some regular services.
There remains a number of bureaucratic hurdles in between Wednesday's announcement and enactment, however, including regulatory approval and community input. If all goes as planned, the proposed reductions would begin later this year and likely be spread out of two years. The plan would cut an estimated half billion dollars from the Postal Service's annual budget.