Houston Tests Kiosks For Faster City Court Payments

Houston's first payment kiosk is set up at the Municipal Courts building on Lubbock, just west of downtown.ξ Gwen Goins with the Municipal Courts says it gives people a quicker option to pay uncontested traffic citations and parking tickets.ξ But she says there are some things people 'can't' use the kiosk to pay for.

"If you have a delinquent citation, you will not be able to use the kiosk for that.ξ You'll have to see the cashier for that.ξ Also, juveniles will not be able to use it.ξ If you have a juvenile case, you actually have to see a cashier for those cases as well."

Goins says city officials got the idea from the payment kiosks in Chicago — where the machines are made.ξ The kiosk at the Municipal Courts building is part of a 90-day trial to determine if other departments could also use them to collect everything from library fees to water bill payments.

"And we're hoping we'll have full department-wide implementation by year's end.ξ And then going into 2011, we'll be looking at partnering with Harris County, and maybe even retail centers for next year."

The machines cost upwards of $20,000 each.ξ However, Goins points out that the kiosks could pay for themselves by allowing the city to use its employees more efficiently.ξξ The payment services provided by the kiosks can also be found on the City of Houston website or by calling 311.

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