comscore Column: Coronavirus prompts distancing, but remember, many services are online or off-site | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Editorial | Insight | Island Voices

Column: Coronavirus prompts distancing, but remember, many services are online or off-site

  • PIXABAY
                                New online and off-site options can be used by Honolulu residents who want to get out of lines and away from waiting rooms.

    PIXABAY

    New online and off-site options can be used by Honolulu residents who want to get out of lines and away from waiting rooms.

Given the recent health concerns and the growing desire to remove ourselves from public spaces, it’s a good time to re-emphasize government service options that are available now. New online and off-site options can be used by Honolulu residents who want to get out of lines and away from waiting rooms.

To start, in-person visits are not required for 90,000 motorists who want the REAL ID-compliant star marking on their driver license. The city recently smoothed the way for online duplicates for the purpose of adding the star marking indicating REAL ID compliance. Those that qualify would have last renewed their license after May 2014 and would already have their documents on file.

Eligible motorists can pay by debit or credit card and get their duplicate REAL ID-compliant card mailed to them by going to www1.honolulu.gov/ duplicates and choosing “option 2” to add the star.

For motorists that have not yet brought in their documents, the appointment system is the way to go. Having an appointment gets you in and out of city offices in under 30 minutes. Already, 74 percent of residents are making appointments up to six months in advance on our official website, www.honolulu.gov/csd. Show up 10 minutes before your appointment time and be done in 20 minutes. All told, 30 minutes total in a public facility with an appointment beats a three hour wait as a walk-in.

It also makes sense to know the options for the vision test required by law when renewing a driver license. If you are hesitant about using the shared vision test machine, bring in your eye doctor’s certificate and forego an on-site vision test.

The date on the eye doctor’s certificate must be six months current. This option is not only easier on you, but it also quickens the process at the service window, which benefits everyone. I recommend this for all and suggest you carry a personal tube of sanitizer if that brings you extra comfort.

As ongoing health concerns change our way of life across our communities, it has never been more important for residents to know that they do not need to visit our offices for services such as motor vehicle registrations, which account for about 70 percent of transactions at satellite city halls.

Last year, the city rolled out 24/7 self-service kiosks in various communities where kiosks perform the same renewal process as a clerk would do at a window.

The free-standing terminals operate much like an ATM and issue, in a matter of minutes, registration cards and emblems on the spot. The kiosks can also calculate late fees up to 10 months past the expiration date.

While yes, this task can also be done online, the wait time to receive documents in the mail is 10-to-14 days, and the online system does not process late payments. The self-service kiosks helps shorten lines and offers a basic government services in an efficient and convenient manner. Find locations on our website also at www.honolulu.gov/csd.

Also, with the implementation of the new electronic safety check program, your renewal status is uploaded immediately. Gone are the manual processing days and month-long wait for your status to be registered in the system. Do your safety check today and get your registration tomorrow.

Residents do not have to stand in line to pay their water bills or property taxes either with online options for both services. Customers who typically pay their bill at the Board of Water Supply on Beretania, a satellite city hall or a Bank of Hawaii branch are encouraged to consider using alternative payment methods such as payment by phone, online payment, automatic bill pay, or by mail. Visit https://www.boardofwatersupply.com/paymentoptions for details.

Property tax payments can be made with a credit card or pinless debit card online at www.hnlpay.com or make your payment with a credit card via telephone at toll free (877) 309-9117.

While there are some tasks that require face-to-face service, if everyone who could use alternate options did so, we would all have less stress, more time, and enjoy a better quality of life.


Sheri Kajiwara is the director of the City and County of Honolulu Department of Customer Services.


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