New York – In response to constituent complaints about the state of affairs at area post offices, Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn) conducted a month-long survey of 10 Brooklyn post offices. The sample included Bay Ridge; Blythbourne; Cadman Plaza; Dyker Heights; Kensington; Kings Highway; Midwood; Parkville; Sunset Park; and Van Brunt post offices. The Bay Ridge, Blythbourne, Dyker Heights and Midwood Post Offices are all situated within Hikind’s district.
Surveyors were asked to note wait times, the length of lines, ease of service, the general demeanor of postal staff, and other conditions. To ensure accuracy of the data collected, each site was reviewed four times on various days and at different hours.
After dozens of research hours, Hikind’s staff observed the following:
· At the Dyker Heights location, evaluators, along with many senior citizens, were made to wait up to 45 minutes on a 20-person line just to get to a service window. The same was true at the Kings Highway site.
· Though the Dyker Heights station opens at 9:00 AM, the first and only window did not open until approximately 15 minutes later. By this point, a considerable line had already formed. A similar incident occurred at the Van Brunt Post Office, where the postal staff was also rude to customers.
· The Kings Highway branch was noted for being the most chaotic of the post offices surveyed. Workers were curt and did not adequately address consumer needs.
· At the Midwood Post Office, a worker yelled at several customers for not knowing how to complete forms or apply for passports.
· Visits to the Blythbourne site revealed that although the mailbox was full, workers made no attempt to empty it. Instead, customers were forced to wait on line to hand their prepared items to a clerk for mailing, resulting in even more wasted time.
· Despite the fact that Cadman Plaza has a designated line for senior citizens, there was no remarkable difference between the general and senior lines in terms of ease or speed of service.
· Wait times at most of the other locations, including at the Parkville and Bay Ridge Post Offices, averaged between 25 and 30 minutes.
· Typically, all of the post offices surveyed tended to be busier and less organized during the morning hours than just before closing.
“It is unconscionable that customers, especially the elderly, are being forced to spend an inordinate amount of time to obtain something as simple as a roll of stamps or a money order,” Hikind said. “The United States Postal Service continuously hikes their rates, but the public is getting nothing in return.”
The findings were not all negative, however. The Sunset Park Post Office proved to be the one bright spot of the survey, with an average wait time of one minute, short lines, and a courteous staff. Bay Ridge Post Office ranked number one in customer service. Despite poor ratings in most other areas, surprisingly, managers at the Blythbourne, Kensington, Kings Highway, and Midwood stations either opened additional windows to ease crowding, or helped to facilitate transactions for consumers during particularly hectic times.
“It’s time for the USPS to return to a consumer-oriented culture,” remarked Hikind.
The Assemblyman has written to Postmaster General John Potter, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia Subcommittee requesting their intervention in this issue.