December 24, 2011

Municipal kiosks to take the queues out of routine business

ABU DHABI // Residents visiting the municipality for routine transactions can now say a quick goodbye to slow-moving queues. This week, the municipality introduced 20 self-service kiosks for land and property transactions, and paying bills.

More kiosks will be available in malls, petrol stations and other community areas early next year.

"In the future, you can go to a petrol station, get a hot coffee, do your service and go," said Mohammed Al Marr, the manager of the municipality's customer service division. "You won't have to wait."

In the first phase, the kiosks will offer five services - including requests for property certificates, land assessment or title deeds- which account for about 60 per cent of daily transactions.

The kiosks will be available in the capital at "external centres and government offices". Later, they will be placed in Al Ain and Al Gharbia, with 115 services eventually available.

To use the kiosks, residents must receive a username and password from the municipality website or at the kiosk. Authorisation of personal information takes at least 24 hours.

"We launched this service to add more choices for the customer: in person, on the website, the phone, at the kiosk," Mr Al Marr said.

He said the kiosks were well received but convincing people to trust computers was a challenge.

"People prefer the face-to-face still but we must change this culture," Mr Al Marr said. "This is … a strategy to help transfer 60 per cent of the work to kiosks."

Officials expect the machines to become more popular as residents learn how quickly and easily they can perform their transactions.

Using their Emirates ID, residents upload their basic data into the machine. They can pay bills with a credit card or cash. A printout of official documents will also be available.

A study is under way on user reaction and the best sites for future kiosks, which will eventually be available for use 24 hours a day.

Posted by CraigKeefner at December 24, 2011 09:52 AM