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For Immediate Release
December 18, 2001
Contact: Dan A. Gwadosky
207-626-8400

Rapid Renewal Service Marks 1st Year Anniversary with over 10,000 Vehicle Registration Renewals Online
22 Municipalities Now Providing Service

As Rapid Renewal (www.sosonline.org), the Department of the Secretary of State's online service for renewal of motor vehicle registrations, marks its first anniversary, Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky and the participating municipalities have much to celebrate. An Internet service that began in December 2000 as a pilot project with 10 municipalities, Rapid Renewal has more than doubled the number of participating municipalities and has processed over 10,000 renewals online during its first year of operation.

"Rapid Renewal's 24 hour a day, 7 days a week availability is one of its most attractive features to Maine citizens," stated Secretary Gwadosky. "We have tracked usage of the service and 25% of those individuals choosing to use Rapid Renewal, do so on the weekend or the holidays. That speaks volumes about the appeal of Internet services for customer convenience."

Rapid Renewal was developed cooperatively by Secretary Gwadosky's department, ten pilot municipalities, and InforME, the Information Resource of Maine (www.state.me.us). The Town of Brunswick was one of the 10 pilot municipalities that helped create a system that would meet the needs of both municipal and state officials.

"Rapid Renewal is a great service for Brunswick residents," said John Eldridge, Town of Brunswick Finance Director. "They can re-register their vehicles at times convenient for them. It's no longer necessary to make a trip to the town office and stand in line to complete a five-minute transaction. We're pleased to have played a part in making Rapid Renewal available."

Municipal participation in the program is voluntary for the 22 towns and cities currently online with the service. An additional 6 municipalities are in the testing phase and 20 more expressed an interest in providing their citizens with this efficient and convenient service. Residents interested in bringing Rapid Renewal to their municipality should contact their local officials.

"I believe the success of the program is that municipalities were invited to actively participate from the program's inception," stated Debra Lane, Cape Elizabeth Town Clerk and Administrative Assistant. "Residents recognize the immediate benefit of re-registering at their convenience, from home, office, school or vacation destination. Residents appreciate the progressive mind of the municipalities and state, initiating an alternative method of providing services. Rapid Renewal is hopefully the first step in initiating more cooperative ventures between towns and state agencies."

The 7% adoption rate for Rapid Renewal has surpassed industry standards which generally consider 3 to 5% a successful adoption rate for any new citizen online service. Many municipalities have exceeded the overall adoption rate for the service; in particular 8.9% of Brunswick's eligible residents and 8.3% of Hermon residents have used Rapid Renewal. Additionally, Cape Elizabeth residents, who have had the service available to them since July, post an adoption rate of 11.2%.

"Rapid Renewal is a logical use of Hermon's Internet capabilities," said Steven Tuckerman, Hermon's Town Manager. "The Town offers Internet service to its residents, and is seeking to provide as much service as it can through its website. Hermon residents have been able to renew while in Florida for the winter."

Rapid Renewal has many features that are beneficial to its users. For example, individuals who renew their registration online may request an e-mail reminder about their next year's registration. Nearly half of Rapid Renewal users requested this service. Additionally, for those who may spend the winter in a warmer climate or college students who may not be close to home, Rapid Renewal Service provides the convenience of mailing the registration and tags to a different address.

In the July issue of Civic.com, the Rapid Renewal Service was named to the Civic 50 Awards list for use of technology to provide government services in a more efficient manner. The annual awards were started by Civic.com in 2000 to "acknowledge innovative public information technology projects." This year the magazine stated that many of the entries sought to use technology to collaborate among agencies and "to improve the way government does business."

Citizen Comments* about Rapid Renewal Service


"Straight forward simplistic directions and easy to use."

"I waited around two hours last time I registered. Hurray for Rapid Renewal!"

"It is great! Simple and Fast!"

"Rapid Renewal works Great!!"

"It was very convenient and I saved about 45 minutes by not leaving work, waiting in line and registering my own and my husband's car online!"

"This program is excellent!!! What a pleasure to renew this way instead of taking a day off to sit down at the Dept. of Motor Vehicles and then over to the Town Hall. What an improvement!!"

"As a tax payer and a very busy employee for a computer software company in Portland I appreciate governmental units at all levels providing this type of service. It will reduce government overhead (taxes) and allow government employees to provide better personal service for those who choose to attend to these matters in the traditional way. Congratulations on this process."

"First time use, very good for vehicle registration, fast and easy with a busy life style (e.g. Kids!)"

"I just want to thank you for making what used to be a huge hassle into a simple straightforward task. It makes me feel good about the State of Maine that we are this on the ball."

"This service was fast and easy, I was remarkably surprised! Thank you for offering it! I registered my car on the weekend!"

*Actual quotes from e-mail comments received regarding Rapid Renewal Service.

Rapid Renewal Municipalities

Municipality Launch date % CC E-C Website
Bangor* December 4, 2000 7.1 Y Y www.bgrme.org
Brunswick* December 4, 2000 8.9 Y N www.curtislibrary.com/brunswick.htm
China* December 4, 2000 5.0 Y Y N
Corinna* December 4, 2000 5.4 Y Y www.tdstelme.net/~corinna
Hermon* December 4, 2000 8.3 Y N www.hermon.net
Holden* December 4, 2000 7.5 Y Y www.holdenmaine.com
Lewiston* December 4, 2000 6.2 Y N www.ci.lewiston.me.us
Portland* December 4, 2000 7.4 Y N www.ci.portland.me.us
Saco* December 4, 2000 7.1 Y N www.sacomaine.org
Waterville* December 4, 2000 5.6 Y Y www.ci.waterville.me.us
           
South Portland May 21, 2001 4.3 Y Y www.southportland.org
Dover-Foxcroft June 19, 2001 5.2 Y Y www.dover-foxcroft.org
Cape Elizabeth July 9, 2001 11.2 Y Y www.capeelizabeth.com
Vassalboro July 25, 2001 7.1 Y Y www.Vassalboro.net
Phippsburg August 1, 2001 4.5 N Y N
Jay August 20, 2001 6.8 Y Y www.jay-maine.org
Chelsea August 31, 2001 6.3 N Y N
Norway October 7, 2001 3.0 N Y N
Arundel October 24, 2001 4.8 N Y www.arundel.maine.org
Falmouth** November 26, 2001   Y N www.town.falmouth.me.us
Standish** December 3, 2001   N Y www.standish.org
Gorham** December 4, 2001   N Y www.gorham-me.org

Adoption rate for 10 pilot municipalities after one year with service - 7.1
Adoption rate for all municipalities in program as of December 2001 - 7.0

CC = Credit Card
E-C = Electronic Check
*Pilot Municipality
**Have not been in program long enough to generate sufficient data
% = Adoption percentage for municipality


Rapid Renewal may be accessed through the municipal web sites listed above or by visiting www.sosonline.org.