(USA TODAY) -- The Postal Service has dropped plans to close most of the nation's 3,200 rural post offices, Postmaster General Pat Donahoe said Wednesday.
Under pressure from Congress and local communities, Donahoe says that, as a cost-cutting alternative, 13,000 post offices will have work hours reduced, unless those community prefer one or more of the alternative options:
-- Closing the post office and opting for a delivery service in areas that currently do not have door-to-door delivery.
-- Creating a "village post office," which means running the post office out of a local business.
-- Merging the local post office with another nearby post office.
The new strategy would take two years to implement and save an estimated half billion dollars annually.
Donahoe had announced plans to close thousands of low-revenue post offices sometime after May 15. Instead, more than 13,000 rural mail facilities could see reduced operations trimmed to between two and six hours per day.
The Postal Service will seek regulatory approval and get community input, a process that could take several months, he says.