Tuesday 30 August 2011

Dublin City might actually work!

A couple of days ago I discovered an online portal which provides citizens of Dublin the means to report any relevant issues they may have to the city authorities, creating a "Service Request" for Dublin City Council. All part of their "aim to provide a high-quality, efficient and courteous level of service to all of our customers".

Call me cynical, but it looked to me like one of those aspirational "initiatives" our public services like to spend tax euros on, but with no real commitment from those behind the scenes who need to actually implement the services promised.

As it happened, I did have a pressing issue that had been annoying me for some time. This issue related to a bike lane on my morning commute. For those who know Dublin, its the southbound path on East Wall Road, between Tolka Quay Road and the East Link Bridge. This particular lane is unridable in places due to the, literally, piles of grit and dirt strewn about, not to mention the timber sheeting and rocks lying about in it and the broken surface. As a result cyclists are given the choice between risking punctures and bike damage by riding in the lane or risking life and limb riding on the road alongside the trucks coming off the ferry at the nearby docks.

So, more in hope than expectation, I reported this last week via the service portal. The portal swallowed up my request, showing a reference number on screen, but without an email confirmation or any formal acknowledgement of receipt. That's them making sure they're off any legal obligation hook, I thought to myself at the time.

So, imagine my surprise this morning, less than a week later, to find that I couldn't ride on the bike lane in question, not due to further deterioration but due to the team, yes team, of council workers hard at work sweeping and cleaning. Several men with brushes AND a road sweeping machine were busily clearing the footpath and, I hope, bike lane.

Obviously it won't be until my next bike commute that I'll be in a position to assess the quality of their work, and the ridability of the bike lane. Even so I have to admit I'm impressed with the speed of the reaction and their apparent commitment to actually providing a service.

So, for now, a qualified well done to Dublin City Council.

If you have an issue you'd like to report to Dublin City Council the portal address is http://www.dublincity.ie/YourCouncil/Pages/isupport.aspx

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