Earlier in the week, Tennessee Department of Safety held a formal announcement ceremony for the self-service driver's license kiosks it's been installing statewide.
But that's old news in Bedford County, where 93 applicants have accessed the self-service kiosk at the Bedford County Courthouse since Dec. 4, 2012, according to Dalya J. Qualls of the Tennessee Department of Safety.
"That's a larger number than I thought," said County Mayor Eugene Ray, who worked with the state on obtaining the kiosk for Bedford County and on keeping open the driver's license testing station on Railroad Avenue.
Although Ray's office is located just a few feet away from the kiosk, he can't see people coming and going and said he didn't realize so many customers had been to use the device. But he said those customers he has spoken to have been pleased.
"All I have heard has been positive," said Ray.
The kiosks allow customers to renew an expiring driver's license or replace a lost one without standing in line at a driver's license testing station.
The customer pays with a credit or debit card, and the kiosk takes a digital photo which is electronically compared to the image already on file with the state in order to guard against fraud.
The kiosk prints out a receipt which serves as a temporary driver's license, and the genuine license is mailed to the customer's home address.
Ray said he's not certain that in the long run, the courthouse is the best place for the Shelbyville kiosk. The courthouse is open only on weekdays.
A spot that is open on Saturdays as well, and which customers already associate with cars or licenses, might be more convenient and accessible. Ray said the kiosk might be placed at the testing center or near the county clerk's office in the basement of the US Bank building.
During this week's ceremony, Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons announced the installation of 30 such kiosks in Davidson, Williamson, Wilson Rutherford, Montgomery, Sumner, Macon, Jackson, DeKalb, Bedford and Hickman counties.
"We are giving citizens another choice when it comes time to renew or replace their driver licenses. Many of the kiosks are located at alternate locations, redirecting traffic from our driver service centers and freeing up the staff there for more complicated transactions. Our ultimate goals are better customer service and reducing the average wait time in driver service centers to no more than 20 minutes," Gibbons said.
A total of 40 self-service kiosks are scheduled to be installed and operating statewide by the end of February, according to a state news release. Most are at locations other than driver's license testing centers, but a few are at testing centers as well.
A list of self-service kiosk locations can be found at www.tn.gov/safety/dlmain.shtml, according to the news release.