By Mallory Bateman
The United States Postal Service has come a long way from the days of the Pony Express when mail was delivered by horseback.
Automated Postal Centers have been in operation for roughly four years and make sending mail quick and easy.
Utah now has 29 Automated Postal Centers throughout the state from St. George to Logan and last year approximately 150,000 Utahns used the self-serve kiosks.
The kiosks, which are open 24-hours a day, enable customers to buy stamps, get information such as zip codes, as well as weigh and mail cards and small packages using debit or credit cards.
“Automated Postal Centers enable our customers to conduct business with us at their convenience,” said Ken McArther, Salt Lake district manager. “It’s the Postal Service’s version of the ATM, but without the fees.”
People are hooked once they try them, McArther said.
The Orem Main Post Offices is home to one of the most popular Automated Postal Centers in Utah, that allows people to do 80 percent of the stuff they could do at the window, said Ron Hubrich from the postal service.
“People love these machines and use them all the time,” Hubrich said. “I’m here late in the evening and a lot of people come in after hours just to use them.”
Many people use them because of convenience, he said. They can take their time and mail packages, buy holiday stamps or just get information.
The Automated Postal Centers use a touch screen and accept packages up to 12 inches high by 14 inches deep by 20 inches wide and are one of the many ways sending mail is becoming easier, Hubrich said.
“At usps.com, customers can print out a label with postage, put it on a package and hand it to the carrier,” he said.
Customers can also call 1-800-ask-usps for general information such as locating a post office with an Automated Postal Center.
“Post offices have changed a lot,” Hubrich said. “They are trying to make things more convenient and all of these services are free.”