Suspension Dashboard

Steve Hutkins

 

In February 2022 the Postal Regulatory Commission opened a Public Inquiry docket to address the issue of post offices that have been under emergency suspension for an extended period of time. The inquiry is not about individual post office suspensions or closings. Rather, it will examine “issues impeding the Postal Service’s progress in resolving the suspended post offices in a timely manner” and consider “procedures or courses of action for how the Postal Service may expeditiously resolve suspended post offices.”

The Commission has indicated that it’s also interested in “data analysis related to the suspended post offices, including, but not limited to, the spatial analysis of the suspended post offices.” The inquiry will also consider what might be done to prevent backlogs from developing in the future.

In its quarterly and annual updates on the suspensions, the Postal Service provides the Commission with lists of the suspended offices. The updates contain information about when and why the offices were suspended and, at least in the case of the older suspensions, their current status in the discontinuance process.  The lists are helpful, but they don’t provide much information — not even the address of the post office.

To provide a clearer picture of the suspensions and to lend some transparency to the process of resolving them as it unfolds, we’ve created a Suspension Dashboard. It includes a page for each of the 450 offices under suspension at the end of FY 2021, with information about its suspension status, community demographics and facility data. The dashboard also provides the address for the suspended office and, when possible, a street view of the building. There’s also a map showing the post office location and another showing nearby alternate facilities. A national map shows all the suspended offices. It has four layers corresponding to when the suspension took place: (1) 1984-2012 (i.e., pre-POStPlan suspensions); (2) FY2012-FY2016; (3) FY2017-2020; and (4) FY2021.

Update, May 2023: In March 2022, the Commission received comments from the Postal Service, the PRC’s Public Representative, and Save the Post Office’s Steve Hutkins as part of the Public Inquiry. The Commission did nothing more on the inquiry until April 2023, when it issued an Information Request asking the Postal Service to describe the extent to which it is “considering creating and maintaining a publicly-available dashboard of suspended post offices.” The Postal Service responded by saying that it “questions the marginal utility of such a project, especially in light of the costs (some of them recurring) that it would entail.” The Postal Service “does not currently plan to create a public-facing dashboard.”

To learn more more:

Notice and Order Providing an Opportunity to Comment on the Postal Service’s Process for Resolving Suspended Post Offices, PRC, Feb. 3, 2022

“U.S. Postal Service Emergency Suspension Process,” USPS OIG, Sept. 24, 2018

Post Office discontinuances and suspensions: A decade in review,” Save the Post Office, Feb. 26, 2018

A Thousand Post Office Suspensions in Review,” Save the Post Office, May 5, 2023

An archive of posts about suspensions on Save the Post Office is here.

A Thousand Suspensions

The following map and list contain the 665 post offices that were suspended as of the end of FY 2016 (the “backlog” the PRC has been trying to get the Postal Service to resolve), plus 301 post offices that were suspended during FY 2017-2022 and still suspended as of the end of FY 2022 (and a few other miscellaneous suspensions as well). Note that some of these reopened during the first half of FY 2023. View on Google Docs.

Most Recent Update Lists

The following spreadsheet contains the most recent update on the backlog of 660 suspensions that was shared with the PRC for Q4 FY2023. View on Google Docs. There’s more about the Q3 FY 2023 update on the PRC website, uploaded to STPO, here, and the latest, here.

The following spreadsheet contains the list shared with the PRC for FY 2022. View on Google Docs.