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For Immediate Release
Rapid Renewal Service Marks 1st Year
Anniversary with over 10,000 Vehicle Registration Renewals Online
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
"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
Adoption rate for 10 pilot municipalities after one
year with service - 7.1
CC = Credit Card