Local post offices to reduce hours

Facing dwindling mail volume, seven post offices in Orange County are shrinking their hours of operation starting April 1.

The Costa Mesa Post Office at 1590 Adams Ave., the Irvine Harvest Station at 17192 Murphy Ave. and the Irvine Post Office at 15624 Sand Canyon Ave. will serve customers between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. The Huntington Beach Post Office at 6771 Warner Ave. will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Three other outposts in Orange, Laguna Hills and Lake Forest will also alter their schedules.

"These locations were selected because they had extended hours and were open past 5:30 p.m.," said Richard Maher, spokesman for the United State Postal Service. "We are beginning with the post offices with the longest hours as we adjust."

The Costa Mesa branch is currently open from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., while the Huntington Beach and two Irvine locations are open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Although the main lobby might be closed, each of these locations houses an automated postal center where customers can buy stamps or mail packages and envelopes after hours.

The scheduling changes are not a reflection of the productivity of the O.C. post offices and are the first phase of an ongoing nationwide effort as the USPS tightens its belt by reorganizing "retail, delivery and mail processing networks."

"After the failure of Congress last year to enact comprehensive postal legislation to address our outdated business model, the USPS Board of Governors directed postal management this past January to accelerate cost-reduction efforts," Maher said.

With people increasingly communicating, paying bills and conducting business transactions online, the USPS is reducing overhead — be it in work hours, transportation contracts or by consolidating offices.

"The Postal Service has, over the past six years, incurred net losses of over $40 billion and we can no longer sustain losses," Maher said. "In order to maintain operations, we are having to having make cost adjustments."

This decision follows the Feb. 6 call to halt Saturday mail delivery, starting Aug. 5, a decision that still requires Congressional approval.

"Post Offices are an important part of every community, residents become attached to them and no one wants to see their post office relocate or be consolidated into another location," Maher said. "But the [USPS] must make some tough choices and respond to the financial realities we face. Our facilities and operations are not tax dollar supported."


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