Rio Rancho residents make plea to Postal Service

On Special Assignment

People in one New Mexico city say they’ve outgrown their single post office and they’d like to see a new one. But are new post offices a thing of the past? 

KRQE News 13 looked into that very possibility on Special Assignment.

Long lines, a crowded parking lot and a growing city are some of the reasons why people in Rio Rancho say their single post office on Pinetree Road just isn’t cutting it anymore.

“The post office is just absolutely overloaded in my opinion,” said Mara Weber, who’s lived in Rio Rancho for 20 years. 

“If you want to weigh something, check your box, it’s just the city’s too big for one post office. We need more,” Weber said. 

With one post office for roughly 96,000 residents, she’s not the only one who’d like to see a change. The local Postal Workers Union in Albuquerque has been pressing the issue for years. 

“Roswell has approximately 47,000 people and they got two post offices,” said Dan Huerta, Director of Education and Organization for the American Postal Worker’s Union in Albuquerque. 

“It’s a large geographical area, and residents deserve better,” Huerta added. 

So will the Postal Service actually spend the money to build a brand new post office in Rio Rancho anytime soon? News 13 learned the answer is likely no. The last post office built in New Mexico was in Clovis in 2010. 

According to USPS Postal Facts, while the Postal Service has seen an increase in package volume over the last decade thanks to online shopping, the volume of first-class mail has dropped 37 percent, from 90.7 billion in 2008 to 56.7 billion in 2018. That means less to money to spend on infrastructure.

In an email to News 13, Rod Spurgeon of U.S. Postal Service Corporate Communications Office wrote, “We anticipate this decline in mail volume to continue as a result of the increase in online transactions and other digital communication. Since we do not receive tax money for our operations, and in light of our declining workload and revenue, we must be responsible with our infrastructure.”

“The post office doesn’t receive any money from the government,” explained Albuquerque Postmaster Chris Yazzie. “We’re reliant on the revenue we generate from our postage.”

“We have to ensure that we’re fiscally responsible and making sure that we’re making the right decisions in our infrastructure,” Yazzie explained. 

In a digital era, Yazzie also points out that most postal services are at customers’ fingertips.  

“They print their own postage, and they request a pickup which can be done online,” he said. USPS also has a mobile app. 

Yazzie said Rio Rancho has five places for people to do business. There are two 24-hour self-serve kiosks at the main station on Pinetree, a Post Office Express inside Albertsons, postal units inside a couple of Giant convenience stores, and the Cottonwood station on Corrales Road.

And if people need to buy stamps, they can get them from their mail carrier in Rio Rancho or at most Walgreens and CVS stores. 

Longtime Rio Rancho resident Mario X. Martinez said the express locations get overloaded as well, and it’s not always convenient to try and catch your mail carrier. “It’s a one-person operation.”

“A lot of older residents don’t use those resources,” Weber said, referring to the online mail services. “They don’t have the computer skills and they get very frustrated.”

Then there’s the issue of mail theft. Huerta argues renting a PO box is more secure, and more people could do that with another post office. Adding carriers and clerks at a second location would also help with late mail issues.

“The latest reports that we’ve had is that the mail is getting up seven, six hours late,” Huerta said. 

But while there’s plenty of growth on the horizon in Rio Rancho, the view doesn’t include a second post office.

“I wouldn’t say never,” Yazzie told KRQE News 13. “If there’s a huge growth, then that’s something that will be looked at later on down the line.”

The Postmaster says the Rio Rancho location is currently fully staffed. The USPS has about 360 postal units throughout New Mexico, which include post offices, post office express units, and contract postal units. To locate postal service locations are near you, click here

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