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‘Mega passport center’ up and running in Castaic

Posted: June 12, 2014 4:37 p.m.
Updated: June 12, 2014 4:37 p.m.
Customers at Castaic's new mega passport processing office are helped Thursday by staff trained specifically in passport processing. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze  Customers at Castaic's new mega passport processing office are helped Thursday by staff trained specifically in passport processing. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze 
Customers at Castaic's new mega passport processing office are helped Thursday by staff trained specifically in passport processing. Signal photo by Katharine Lotze 
Customers at the Castaic post office's "mega passport center" wait for their numbers to be called while others complete paperwork during Thursday's grand opening of the center. Signal Photo by Katharine Lotze  Customers at the Castaic post office's "mega passport center" wait for their numbers to be called while others complete paperwork during Thursday's grand opening of the center. Signal Photo by Katharine Lotze 
Customers at the Castaic post office's "mega passport center" wait for their numbers to be called while others complete paperwork during Thursday's grand opening of the center. Signal Photo by Katharine Lotze 
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Castaic’s “mega passport facility” held its grand opening on Thursday, becoming the second such facility in Southern California to open its doors.

The Castaic location will replace four separate passport processing offices inside area post offices, including those in Lancaster, Palmdale and Santa Clarita.

According to Ramela Younekian, who is in charge of opening the new “mega centers,” the consolidation has nothing to do with Postal Service budget cuts.

“It’s really to better serve our customers,” Younekian said. The new consolidated centers are more efficient than post office processing locations because of a full-time staff of four to five employees and extended hours.

“We anticipate this will be a central point in passport acceptance,” said Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher.

Passport customers were lined up at the Castaic facility before it opened Thursday morning. The center has actually been operating since May 31 and has processed an average of 110 passports per day, according to retail manager Michael Madrigal.

A typical postal facility processes about 24 passports per day.

Younekian said regional “mega centers” are the passport processing centers of the future. Plans call for two more to open in Southern California: one in Pasadena and one in Glendale.

The office offers a range of passport processing services, from photos to copy service.

The Castaic center is located at 28201 Franklin Parkway in Valenca.

 

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