Postal service cuts could affect 13 local offices

July 26, 2011 6:40:35 PM PDT
It's another sign of our times. The U.S. Postal Service is considering closing more than 3,700 offices nationwide, which could include a dozen in the Bay Area. In an era when many people pay their bills online, the Postal Service says some of its brick-and-mortar offices are not being used as much.

The South San Francisco Post Office on Linden Avenue has a lot of charm. Built in 1939, the old fashioned postal boxes are still being used today.

"I like the old wood and the signs and stuff all over," said customer Robert Vetter. "It's like going to an old Irish pub without the beer."

But this is 2011 when people often text or write emails rather than put pen to paper. And why stop by the post office to buy stamps when there are other, more convenient and accessible outlets?

"I do some bills online and I know that sort of cuts out the activity for post offices," said customer Lashunda Foster. "People are resorting to electronic payments and online payments."

"Mostly if I do letters it's for birthdays and stuff like that, so I like to do the old fashioned route for that type of stuff, other than that you can do email," said Vetter.

That's why the Postal Service says it's losing so much money.

"About $8.5 billion last year and probably close to that again this year," said Postal Service spokesperson James Wigdel.

With the writing on the wall, 3,800 post offices are being considered for closure. The Linden Avenue station is one of them. It wouldn't be the first.

Today there are more than 31,000 post offices nationwide -- that's down from 38,000 10 years ago. The Postal Service will take four months to review those on the list. Then the community will have a chance to argue why their post office should remain open.

"They have a chance to give us feedback," said Wigdel. "We will be having public meetings, sending out surveys to communities where discontinuances are being considered."

Any final decisions will not be made before December.

According to the Postal Service there will be no layoffs because they expect a number of employees to retire and those positions will be filled by those who need to be transferred.

A total of 13 offices will be affected in the Bay Area -- five in San Francisco, four in San Jose and the Peninsula combined, and four in Oakland.

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