Local Government on Wheels: Going the extra mile? Or too little, too late?

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Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2013 9:15 am | Updated: 9:38 am, Tue Feb 26, 2013.

Okay, so the city of Boston, Mass. has been getting a lot of great press  for its new mobile municipal office, City Hall to Go. It’s a repurposed food truck that visits Boston neighborhoods, dishing out common city services such as pet licensing, voter registration, parking stickers, birth certificate requests, and more. Here's a look at the menu:

Boston — as every major metropolitan area should — already allows citizens to conduct plenty of city business online. And Bostonians are still welcome to sacrifice their lunch hours for a trip down to City Hall. So as progressive as the idea sounds, it seems to me that City Hall to Go is really just a hipster-themed bonus option for late adopters.

Look, I’m not saying City Hall to Go is a bad idea. It’s friendly, stylish, and fun in a way that few local governments are. But it just seems so...1993.

We’re living in a world where people’s expectations grow more technologically advanced every day. The modern citizen wants simplicity, convenience, sustainability, and accuracy, not a gas guzzling PR effort and a new opportunity to stand in line.

City Hall to Go has already hit the streets to collect feedback in neighborhoods all over Boston. I’m very curious to hear whether the idea becomes fixture or forgotten. An investigation of Boston’s website has me believing the money would be better spent creating a more interactive and functional way for people to do city business online. But it’s not my dime. Plus I'm just some hack behind a keyboard in Iowa. I'm pretty sure the folks at the city of Boston know their business far better than I.

What do you think? Should local government be implementing more ways for citizens to do city business in person? Or is budget money better spent on expanding online services?

Click here to find out more about Boston's City Hall to Go.

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