The U.S. Postal Service, after pressure from elected officials, including Congressman Jose E. Serrano, has canceled most planned service cuts to the Bronx, according to a news release Tuesday, September 12.
“The Postal Service’s plans would have gutted services by removing more than 120 jobs from post offices across the borough, which would have made lines longer and increased frustration for many Bronxites who depend upon reliable post offices,” Serrano stated in the release.
Late in 2016, a report by the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General found that several post offices in the Bronx had serious service issues, including long wait times of up to an hour, inefficient package pick-up and retail operation, and understaffing.
The USPS was supposed to address the problems immediately following the audit, but little appeared to have been done, according to Serrano. Further service cuts would have exacerbated these problems.
“The cancellation of planned staffing cuts is a victory for the Bronx,” Serrano said. The number of cuts was reduced from 120 to 15.
“I want to thank advocates, elected officials, postal employees and others for joining me in expressing dismay over these planned service cuts,” Serrano said. “Thanks to this pressure, we have been able to do what many other areas of the city and nation have not — turn back these terrible plans. The Post Office is experiencing revenue issues, but the way to fix those problems is not by reducing the very services that loyal clients depend upon.”
The members of the New York Metro Area Postal Union supported Serrano and the Bronx community in the fight for the people of the Bronx to receive first class postal services, according to New York Metro Area Postal Union president Jonathan Smith.
Serrano had been circulating a letter he planned to send to Bronx Postmaster Lilliam Rodriguez, expressing concerns about the USPS’s ability to provide prompt, reliable and efficient services to Bronx communities.
The letter cited the USPS Inspector General’s audit of the Bronx Delivery and Customer Service Operations. It found that Bronx retail customers faced long wait times in line, averaging seven minutes up to 56 minutes.
Customers picking up packages experienced wait times averaging 12 minutes, up to two hours.
The USPS’s Retail Customer Experience Service Standards requires wait times in line to be “five minutes or less.”
Serrano said his office was “flooded with calls from constituents, many of whom are elderly or disabled, expressing their frustration that the services have not been improved.”
The Bronx’s population is rapidly growing, and if it were its own city, it would be the eighth largest in the U.S., according to Serrano.
“As elected representatives, we seek a commitment from the USPS to not only improve services our residents and businesses so heavily rely on, but to also expand them,” Serrano said. “In a day of booming e-commerce, this is not an option, it is essential.”
Serrano has represented the Bronx in Congress since 1990. He is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.