Postal Service looks to improve oil patch serviceThe U.S. Postal Service is taking steps to improve service in western North Dakota's booming oil patch, where an influx of people from around the country has led to problems such as slow mail delivery and long lines at post offices.
WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — The U.S. Postal Service is taking steps to improve service in western North Dakota's booming oil patch, where an influx of people from around the country has led to problems such as slow mail delivery and long lines at post offices.
Roy Reynolds, district manager in the Dakotas for the Postal Service, held public meetings this week in Watford City, Williston and Tioga, telling residents that the agency will be “doing what we need to do to restore faith in the service we're trying to provide.”
During the lunch hour Wednesday, the line at the Williston post office stretched into the lobby, with people picking up packages or signing up for post office boxes, The Forum newspaper reported.
Ann Nelson, who was among the customers, said her mail is delivered between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but some of her neighbors don't get mail until 10 p.m.
“I think they're overworked,” Nelson said of mail carriers. “Our mail lady is wonderful, but she has a hard time keeping up with what they have to do.”
Reynolds called the problems “totally unacceptable.”
“I can't expect people to have to take vacation from work to go mail a package,” he said.
The Postal Service already is making changes, such as installing parcel lockers, Reynolds said. Rather than wait in line to retrieve a package, customers find a key in their post office boxes that allows them to retrieve the package from a parcel locker on their own. The Williston post office recently added 1,300 post office boxes and 35 parcel lockers.
The Postal Service also is working to hire more staff in the region. A job fair is planned next week in Watford City. The agency also is looking to partner with retail stores, libraries or other facilities to open village post offices that would allow customers to mail packages, buy stamps and access some other services, Reynolds said.