Three months after Croydon lost its post office to a fire, residents are getting some relief.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Monday that it is deploying a "retail mobile unit" at the site of the shuttered post office in the Croydon Center strip mall on Bristol Pike.
Residents who have a post office box at the facility will be able to pick up and drop off their mail at the mobile station, according to Raymond Daiutolo Sr., a Postal Service spokesman. Last month, the Postal Service said it was unable to use a mobile station – a common workaround when post offices are closed – because of safety concerns at the site.
But Daiutolo said Monday that the station would use "a cellular router" that will make transactions possible, albeit a little slower.
The mobile unit will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.
On Aug. 22., a late-night fire raged through the Croydon Center, according to officials in Bristol Township. Kevin Dippolito, the township's fire marshal, said the cause of the blaze remains undetermined.
Croydon's lack of a post office garnered attention in recent weeks. U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.) wrote a letter of complaint to the postmaster general in November about the closed office, and it was mentioned in a lawsuit filed by State Rep. Tina Davis over absentee ballots in Bucks County.
In a statement Monday, Fitzpatrick said the opening of the mobile unit was "welcome news."
"While the closure of the Croydon post office has temporarily disrupted service for local residents and small businesses, I am confident that this temporary facility will mitigate further interruption, especially with the holiday season upon us," he wrote.
Fitzpatrick's office released a letter it received from the Postal Service, in which a spokesperson said the owner of the building was "in the early stages of working to determine a repair schedule and timeline."
As public debate swirled, residents in the town of about 10,000 fumed, especially as Christmas approached. Before the mobile unit was available, residents were directed to use the post office in Bensalem, about two miles away.
"They say, 'Oh, the Bensalem office is so close,' but you have to understand something,"said Rhonda Ryan, a lifelong Croydon resident and retired employee of the town's post office. "Here, a lot of people walk, ride their bikes, or are disabled and use motorized scooters. It's much harder to get to Bensalem."