Montgomery Water Works Removes Walk-In Service At East S. Blvd. Location


By Catalina Trivino

Walking in to pay a water bill is now a thing of the past at one of Montgomery's Water Works payment offices. Only drive-thru service is available. While managers say the change has saved them money, some customers say it's also caused long lines.

It's been about a month since the lobby at the Water Works location off East South Boulevard has closed. Now, it only provides a drive-thru service. Managers tell us the lines have been so long on some days, they've had to come out and direct traffic themselves. But they say they're doing their best to find options to minimize that traffic.

Clinton Rand lives just two minutes from the Montgomery Water Works payment office off East South Boulevard. Since he has no transportation, he usually walks to pay his bill... until he saw a sign that says customers can only pay through the drive-thru.

"Unfortunately, due to me not being able to go on the inside and pay, I had to wait around until I could find somebody to bring me that has a car," Said Rand.

This Water Works location has now closed its walk-in service. Managers say it's because not enough people were making payments inside, leaving only drive-thru service available -- which means you have to have a car to make a payment.

Managers say they did it to save money, so rates wouldn't go up -- and they say so far closing the lobby has saved them about $120,000.

But some customers say that's brought long lines. Daryl Price says he's seen them wrapped around the building, changing his mind about paying his bill.

"If I see a line this long, I'm definitely going to go the other way. I just can't. I just can't wait in lines that long," Said Price.

But Chris Stoudemire says she hasn't seen the congestion...

"When I'm not busy, I would just go in and I haven't had a problem with lines and what have you. Well, maybe two or three people in line, but that's normal. But when I'm rushing out I've always been able to go through the drive thru without a problem,"Said Stoudmire.

And Rand says there's an even bigger problem with closing the lobby...

"Now that everybody has to go to Coosa Street if you don't have an automobile...  that's hard... that's hard on us, you know what I mean?" Said Rand.

Managers want to remind you: You can pay your bill my mail, as well. They say they're looking into other options to minimize those lines. They may even open up another drive-thru window in the downtown area -- but they don't anticipate opening the lobby again.

Managers say there were two workers providing walk-in service at the office on East South Boulevard. Those people were moved to the downtown location.

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