North Charleston adopts technology to help citizens report city-problems via text

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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Looking to find out when your trash will get picked-up during a holiday week? Perhaps you want to report a pothole in need of repair or, even more troubling for commuters, a traffic light is down on your block?Now there is new technology that will help citizens lob their city-related questions and problems to the government via text message. North Charleston recently launched the program to allow people to report issues through a platform many are comfortable using.“Citibot is the newest way you can get in touch with the city and give us information and requests. No more phone calls, or emails. All you need is a text and about 10 seconds,” Mayor Keith Summey said. “Citibot is that simple, give it a try.”The software allows real-time access to information and attempts to encourage more civic engagement. North Charleston residents are able to ask a question, or report a problem, then immediately find the information they need through texts. When they send in a message, it goes directly to the government’s work order line-up and often an interactive chat bot sends a response.Bratton Riley, CEO and co-founder of Citibot, said he understands how important it is for government resources to be accessible and for leaders to provide guidance. The son of former Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley said watching his father taught him a lot about how city government operates.The nice thing about the text message feature is that instant gratification,” said Riley. “We want government to be there for everyone. Citizens are trusting government less and what we can do with our technology is help rebuild those relationships of trust.”He said that Citibot also has the advantage of more efficiently allocating government resources to manage problems in the city. North Charleston is the first city in the nation to adopt the technology, but he is hopeful it will gain traction.  For those wishing to access Citibot, the easiest way is to simply text “Hello” to 843-806-0204.

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