Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree have said that the U.S. Postal Service has agreed to their request to designate seven island post offices as Part-Time Post Offices (PTPOs), which guarantees that they will remain open at least six hours a day.
The Postal Service is implementing a program to reduce hours at small post offices, and had proposed cutting back hours at island post offices in Maine to as few as 2 hours a day. Part-Time Post Office status is given to offices in remote rural areas and protects them from drastic service reductions. Postal Service regulations require PTPOs to be at least 25 miles from the nearest post office, but Michaud and Pingree said that 25-mile criteria shouldn't apply to islands that are only accessible by ferry.
"The Postal Service recognized the unique situation faced by Maine's island communities, and I'm pleased they agreed to our request to maintain reasonable hours," said Michaud. "Washington needs more of these types of common sense responses when it comes to addressing other challenges. A good start would be finally passing meaningful postal reform legislation that puts the Postal Service on a path to fiscal stability."
Pingree says the change will make a big difference in opening hours for island post offices.
"The Postal Service had proposed cutting back the post office on Chebeague and Long Island to just 4 hours a day, for example. And the next step could have been to close them altogether. Getting these offices officially designated as Part-Time Post Offices takes them off the list for these drastic reductions in hours and gives them some long-term security," Pingree said.
The Postal Service agreed to PTPO status for seven islands: Long Island, Chebeague, North Haven, Islesboro, Cranberry Isles, Islesford and Swan's Island. Previously, the Postal Service had agreed to Pingree's request to keep the Cliff Island, Monhegan and Matinicus Post Offices open for a minimum of 6 hours a day.