City services truck makes Egleston Square debut

March 1, 2013
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(Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira) JP Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Julieanne Doherty (center) talks toHyde/Jackson Main Streets Executive Director Gerald Robbins and a police officer while Christina Connors (second from right) files for a birth certificate.

The City’s new resident service vehicle, City Hall To Go, made a two-hour appearance at Egleston Square on Feb. 20 to build up awareness.

The truck, modeled after food trucks, offers a “menu” of services that includes getting a library card; requesting a birth certificate, dog license or resident parking permit; and registering to vote, among 15 or so other services offered. Most of these services are also available online.

“People are coming by. They’re curious and asking about the service,” Jullieanne Doherty, Jamaica Plain’s coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, said during a Gazette visit. “It’s what we want right now, so when summer’s here, people know about the truck and about what it can do.”

During the Gazette’s half hour visit, six people stopped by the parking lot at Columbus Avenue and Washington Street, where the truck was parked. Among them was Christina Connors, who does not live in JP but who works in Egleston Square. She wanted to get a birth certificate for her newborn son.

“I found out the truck was going to be here yesterday,” she told the Gazette. “It helps out people who don’t have cars [to get downtown.]”

This was the truck’s first visit to Egleston Square. The truck was originally scheduled for a visit in mid-January, but that was postponed due a computer glitch. The visit was announced by Egleston Square Main Streets and City Hall To Go’s twitter accounts in the days before the visit.

The truck does not yet have a regular schedule, though it is visiting neighborhoods throughout the city. Mayor’s Office representative Molly Murphy, who is in charge of the truck’s operations and who was manning the truck that day, said that a regular schedule will likely be decided by the spring.

The Gazette was invited to have a look inside of the truck, which included a printer and scanner, plenty of blank forms and filing cabinets and a small table with chairs for longer or more in-depth conversations, Doherty said.

The budget for the truck is still unclear and no new employees have been hired to staff it. Murphy was assigned to the truck from the Mayor’s Office.

City Hall To Go has a Twitter account, @CityHallToGo. For more information, see cityofboston.gov/cityhalltogo.