Boost for rural France as 1,000 post offices to expand opening hours

La Poste says it is adapting its network to better serve the people who need it most

Rural post offices in France are set to expand their opening hours
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One thousand post offices across rural France will expand their opening hours over the next 18 months, it has been announced.

The deputy director-general of France’s postal system La Poste told French radio station Europe 1 of the plan on Wednesday (June 14).

Nathalie Collin said more post offices would open on Saturdays or other busy days, such as when the local market takes place.

A La Poste spokesman told French news site that the aim is to “strengthen our presence [and] better match local economic life, while adapting to [meet] clients’ needs”. He also noted that currently “over 80% of post offices are already open Saturday mornings”.

This initiative is part of the 2023-2025 postal contract, Contrat de présence postale territorial 2023-2025, signed in February between La Poste, l'association des Maires de France (AMF) and the French state.

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Under the terms of the contract, La Poste will also adapt its network, consisting of 7,000 post offices, 7,000 communal postal agencies and 3,000 drop-off points, first and foremost in the “areas which need it most” said Ms Collin, referring to rural areas, mountain areas, priority areas for town policy and overseas territories. La Poste will receive €177 million for this contract.

In addition to opening post offices on Saturdays or market days, or expanding opening hours on those days, La Poste plans to increase its points of contact during the summer period and reduce the number of unexpected daily closures.

Another change arising from the contract is an end to counters in post offices. Ms Collin said post office employees will now help clients wherever they are in the building.

La Poste has yet to publish a list of the post offices concerned, as “a local study is underway to evaluate [local] needs”.

Despite the number of people visiting post offices dropping 52% between 2016 and 2022, according to La Poste, the network still welcomes “almost 900,000 clients per day”.

As more and more traditional postal activities take place online, La Poste is having to adapt, it added.

It has already invested “over €2.4 billion” since the first postal contract was signed in 2008 “to adapt and modernise the post’s presence and support the most vulnerable clients,” La Poste said.

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