Rural post office hours reduced

Posted at: 11/27/2012 9:25 PM
Updated at: 11/27/2012 10:26 PM
By: Joe Vigil, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The U.S. Postal Service has started reducing the hours of rural post offices in an attempt to save money.

The effort is part of what's called the Post Plan. KOB Eyewitness News 4 has learned that around 150 rural post offices are expected to have their daily hours cut.

According to postal officials, the Lemitar Post Office will reduce retail service from eight hours a day to four. The nearby Polvadera Post Office is going from eight hours a day to two.

"I think it's sad for our little town, and all the little communities, that they're doing that," said Polvadera resident Julie Vega. Because Vega works a lot in Socorro she said she may not have time to visit the post office during the two-hour span it will be open.

Vega told KOB she is now having packages shipped to where she works instead of having them sent to the post office. "We order a lot of prescription medicines and don't want them sitting at the post office," said Vega.

Postal officials in Albuquerque say cutting hours to rural offices is being  done to prevent the closing more than 50 of them statewide. Officials were concerned that closing offices would be inconvenient for many, especially for those who would have to drive to other communities in the winter to pick up mail and conduct other postal business.

The issue is also taking a toll on postmasters. Some are being told in order to keep their benefits they will have to find another full time job within the Postal Service. KOB was told the postmaster in Polvadera had to take a job in Reserve to keep her benefits.

While office hours are being cut postal officials said there will be no impact on when people can access their post office boxes. Some people can access their boxes 24 hours a day. It is unknown right now when the Lemitar Post Office will move to reduced hours. The Polvadera Post Office will go to reduced hours starting January 26th, 2013.

Despite the reduction in hours overall, a small handful of post offices in the area will be slightly increasing their hours.

For a list of post offices and their new hours, click here.