Thursday, February 7, 2013 really works!

I am a big fan of the idea of applications that allow citizens to directly communicate with their local council. As a result I installed the FixMyStreet Ireland app on my phone which is a convenient interface to the web site which can be used to report issues to your local council. In common with similar services in other countries this is a deceptively simple application that automatically directs your problem reports to the appropriate council. Whenever, citizens spot a problem the most common reason given for not reporting it is that the person doesn't know whom to report it to. The beautiy of FixMyStreet is that it knows where to forward your report based upon what type of problem it is and where you are (it can use the location from your GPS to figure out which council is responsible for solving the issue).

My inner geek was keen to try out the app. However, I was reluctant to divert valuable council resources into fixing minor issues just so I could see whether or not the app works properly. For the last few months I have been searching for a real problem that I could report (there is never a pothole available when you need one).

There is a bridge that I needs to cycle across on my route to work each morning.  A few weeks ago I noticed a minor blemish in the road where somebody had dug up the road to lay a cable and had not repaired the road properly. Initially the problem was very minor, but the recent cold weather seemed to cause the material used to repair the road to crack and come loose. Gradually the problem became worse until there was a sizable hole in the road which made one entire lane impassable on a bike.

For a few days I got off my bike and carried it past the hole, until I suddenly remembered that this was an ideal opportunity to try out the app. Yesterday morning, I filed my first problem report describing the issue. Unfortunately I didn't properly save the picture. I suspected that the council officials would think I was exaggerating about the size of the hole so I decided to stop again this morning and update my problem report with a picture.  To my amazement I saw that the problem was already fixed.

I must publicly applaud Fingal County Council - even in this tough economic climate they are doing a great job of responding to complaints,

No comments:

Post a Comment