By TOM ENGLISH
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds” appears on the main post office in New York City. Can you imagine life without the post office? It’s been a part of American life since 1775, when it was created by the Second Continental Congress. About 563 million pieces of mail are delivered daily, almost half the mail in the world.
That will probably change soon. The U.S. Postal Service plans to close about 3,700 post offices throughout the country in 2012, and may ultimately shut the doors of another 12,000 post offices. The decision to close a post office will be based on how much money that post office makes. Patrick Donahoe, the current head of the Postal Service, also wants to get rid of Saturday delivery, which means that mail will take longer to reach its final destination. He has plans to slash the number of workers from 570,000 to 350,000 by 2015.
Saturday delivery will be handled by private companies such as FedEx and United Parcel Service, and will likely be far more expensive than many people can pay. Because they are private companies, there is no guarantee they will continue to serve rural and out-of-the way places if they cannot make money, so many places could lose Saturday, or possibly all, service.
Papanini Hamadou, who currently lives down the street from a post office in the Bronx, NY, told The Indypendent: “Me, I live on this block. It was easy for me. But if they close I have to go to Grand Concourse. I have to take a bus.”