Queensland Department Of Transport

In the first half of the year, I had the pleasure of visiting a Queensland Department Of Transport office. I turned up in my lunch break, with the expectation that I’d be in and out in a jiffy. What I was confronted with was an automatic ticketing system which seemed to be at a stand still and an ever growing number of people. The swift expectation was shot down when 20, 40, 60 and 80 minute markers lapsed while waiting to get served.

With the previous experience under my belt, I arrived at the Department Of Transport on Friday morning at about 7.40am. As expected, the office wasn’t open yet and it didn’t open until about 8.30am. What I couldn’t believe was that there was someone there before me! In the next hour, another fifteen people turned up to get in the door when it opened. Once the doors opened, the stream of people was unrelenting and by about 8.45am, there would have been close to 50 people waiting to get served.

When waiting for the office to open, I chatted to a man who works near by. He informed me that it was normal to have lines of people at that hour and that it got worst. Apparently in the 9am to 10am window, there are close to 100 people waiting in their office. To help with processing, there were two people in the public area of the office, trying to shuffle fast service queries through. The last time I was there, it was very busy but this was unbelievable. I wonder what it must be like in the lunch hour period now?

I think this experience has become common in many service industries. Companies and employers are trying to decrease costs but at the same time, they are frustrating their customers. You can turn up to nearly any bank, any time of the day to find the same scenario – 15 tellers and only 3 of them are active. Meanwhile, the queues continue to grow and customers become more and more frustrated.

It surprises me that more companies aren’t turning to technology to ease the pressure. A vast portion of queries that people go to an office can be done online or voice prompted over the phone. To me, it’s about working smart, putting resources where you get the best return. Having a good quality, clear and functional website would reduce load on these offices by significant percentages. A normal website can service hundreds, even thousands of requests per second – no matter what sized offices you had, it’d be impossible to match those figures. The numbers are compelling, so what’s stopping them?

3 thoughts on “Queensland Department Of Transport

  1. I think what’s stopping companies from implementing good IVR systems and websites is the negative publicity. Customer Service through impersonal technological means gets a lot of bad press, and generates a stack of ill-will.

    Most agencies which have walk-in premises do have a call center of some description, but people turn up at their door anyway… its commonly argued that people turn up because the long lines and crappy treatment are PREFERABLE to them to using the phone and being transferred around.

    At least in person they can make a fuss and achive their purpose that day. On the phone it’s not guaranteed, especially with 20-minute hold-times and accidental disconnection.

    Though internet use and adoption of broadband is pretty good in Australia, I think the public at large hasn’t made the leap to using the internet as a life-service tool. Most people look at it as either a research or entertainment device, rather than a life-facilitator.

    Internet banking is perhaps the most popular growth area in that direction, with bill-payment being the next, but not a hell of a lot of people go beyond that. There are many options available to people which are very much under-utilised.

    Internet shopping is pretty much restricted to the youth and technophile market, with music and electronic products WAY more available online than anything else in this country, and ‘progressive’ internet-enabled service businesses like Coles Online are left struggling for customers.

    The other thing to keep in mind is the massive privacy concern in the populace, and the risk analysis any government organisations would face if they made any kind of ‘real’ information web-accessible. Now you and I both know that web traffic can be made more secure than an armed truck full of diamonds but that’s not the public perception… thanks largely due to sensationalist media like Today Tonight, A Current Affair, and sadly commercial “News” programs. Whenever someone freely hands over their password to a stranger, the news is flooded with cries for abolishing the internet because of its inherant insecure nature.


    Anyway, I’m on your side, but public perception needs to change first, otherwise it makes no fiscal sense for organisations in some sectors to invest in technological solutions ‘grass roots’ types don’t want.

  2. I pay my rego and parking fines online (both Brisbane City Council and Gold Coast City Council provide this on their sites; along with QLD Transport for rego and aparently camera detected offenses too [haven’t had one of those yet!])

    I guess the problem comes to license renewals – where they need to take your photo… unless a human serves you, it’s far harder to know it was you in the photo (ie email in a photo isn’t exactly going to work)… but since we pay so much in tax, parking fines, rego, speeding fines, etc – they could probably get off their ___ and spend a few more $ on staff!

  3. But these days they dont take photos any more. I look quite different to my current licence photo with my now shaved head and goatee, but still they dont redo the photo.

    I think the current photo is almost 4 years old now. All they do these days is slap a sticker on the back with the new expiry dates and I’m off. I know that you can change your licence address over the web and they post you a sticker, I wonder if the same now applies to licence renewal. Being that they have to check your eyesite I doubt it, but it could be interesting to try.

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