Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Mobile Office: How "City Hall To Go" Will Help Boston This Summer

High Complaints and Low Morale For Greater Boston Residents

Citizens of the Greater Boston area have a strong solidarity - about their complaints living here in the Hub.  Just a few of our top morale adversaries:

  • Unpredictable bad weather 
  • Lack of a late night MBTA services
  • Trigger-happy parking meter maids 
  • Plights at the Registry of Motor Vehicles with unexpected trips to City Hall
  • Late buses and slow trains
  • Continual spikes in toll and T fares 
  • The honking, ohh the honking

The odds certainly seem stacked against anyone trying to navigate through the center of the City.  (Never mind the increasingly standard MBTA crashes due to driver sneezing.)  At least we have our professional sports teams who have championed our faithful City over the past twelve years and piqued our morale, right?  But even in an athletic dynasty we need a Bostonian chip on our shoulder, and City Hall is making some serious efforts to help Boston area dwellers lighten up in Spring 2014. 

Mayor Marty Walsh shakes hands with a Boston resident while in the City Hall To Go truck

Public Access: How "City Hall To Go" Positively Rolls Local Municipalities in a New Direction for Boston  

Last winter, there were a series of spin-doctoring ideas from the mayor's and governor's office, including a green-lit project to launch the MBTA late night service for all trains and main bus routes on Friday and Saturday nights.  Most visibly, the City Hall To Go truck is mobilizing services to those who live outside of the downtown area.  During the pilot program for the truck last December, Menino stated to the Boston Globe: "City Hall To Go builds on our mission to shake up the status quo in municipal services and offer a new way for Boston residents to get information and engage with the city on a whole host of services we offer."  Menino's offering of this new benefit was one of his last stands, and has helped his incumbent Marty Walsh ride in on a white horse (or rather in a red and blue truck) earlier this January.  The truck is modeled after the popular food service and ice cream trucks that have recently taken over the Hub.

The nation's pioneer municipal mobile truck services include:
  • Handling parking ticket payments and disputes 
  • Ordering meter cards
  • Requests for birth, death, and marriage certificates 
  • Voter registration 
  • Registration for residential parking permits and dog licenses
  • Paying property and excise taxes 
Program organizer Katharine Lusk from former mayor Thomas Menino's office stated: "It's another way of connecting with the community."  The truck follows a schedule travelling Allston, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Brighton, Charlestown, Chinatown, Dorchester, East Boston, Fenway, Hyde Park, Roxbury, South End, and South Boston anywhere between the hours of 9:00am and 7:30pm.  You can even follow the truck on Twitter for a direct connection with City Hall To Go. 

Mitigating the inconvenience of traveling downtown to City Hall during the work week, especially now that the Government Center T-stop is currently shut down until 2016, gives great relief to city commuters relying on the less than reliable public transit.  Hey, at least you don't have to use up a vacation day.  

Final Thoughts

The City Hall To Go truck adds to the growing new sense of city living: The current surge in condo development and sales across the Greater Boston area have been helping turn around the longtime stagnation of the local commercial and residential real estate markets. Boston tourists and residents can now share bicycles, stay out late (something the City's businesses have been pleased about too), and have coffee with the Mayor in the morning. The mobilization of municipalities in this truck could help add to the community's "Boston Strong" recovery sentiment from the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April 2013, as well as the Back Bay fire that took the lives of two firefighters this past March.

The truck also makes a great impact on residents who may not be Internet-savvy, have limited fluency in English, or may be clueless about going through the process to handle such issues that require a trip to City Hall.  So, what will we complain of next?

Do you think the City Hall To Go truck will be successful, or will have a short-term life rolling around town?

No comments :

Post a Comment