July 21, 2016
Free Uber rides program for potential Macomb County jurors extended by County Clerk
Public-private partnership seeks to increase civic participation by making a ride to jury duty as simple as a tap of an app
Macomb County, MI (July 21, 2016) The Macomb County Clerk and Uber today announced they are extending their innovative service to provide jurors with a free ride to court and back, at no cost to the county budget.
In June 2015, the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds, and Uber began a pilot program to offer on-demand transportation to and from the Macomb County Courthouse. Potential jurors receive an Uber promotional code good for a $20 ride each way, or $40 round trip, to and from the courthouse. After positive feedback from jurors, the two sides have decided to extend the original partnership.
After Macomb County jurors receive a summons and answer the online questionnaire, they receive a unique link to create an Uber account. Jurors who choose to use the offer will be picked up at their location of choice and dropped off at the Court Building in Mount Clemens. Jurors may also use their Macomb County Juror Uber code to request a ride home from the Court Building. Riders are encouraged to use the fare estimate feature in the Uber app to determine if the promotional code covers the round-trip fare. If the cost of a trip exceeds $20, then the juror can decide to pay the difference or get to court another way.
More than 16,000 jurors visit the Macomb County Court Building annually. For the vast majority of jurors, the promotional code will cover the full cost of the ride to and from courthouse. The ride must start or end at the Macomb County Circuit Court Building in Mount Clemens. Most jurors serve jury duty only one day, but if a juror must serve two or more days, then the juror would pay for an Uber ride on those subsequent days, or use other transportation.
“We are pleased to partner with Uber to encourage civic participation and provide jurors with a free ride to and from court, at no cost to the county budget,” said the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds. “Our jury duty service includes one free ride to and from court, wireless Internet, free book delivery, restaurant-style pagers, an ATM and change machine, and a visit from a snack cart. The bottom line is we want jury duty to be a good experience in Macomb County.”
Since the pilot’s inception, more than 200 potential jurors have taken advantage of the free rides. Citizens called for jury duty can set their desired pickup location and be dropped off at the steps of the County Courthouse. Last month, the Macomb County Clerk received an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties recognizing this innovative program.
In the past, some Macomb County jurors have had difficulty finding transportation for jury duty. The Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds set out to find a solution to help jurors who worry about finding parking or driving in bad weather. The Macomb County Clerk hopes to encourage civic participation by partnering with Uber to provide jurors with free round-trip fare. Getting a free ride to court reduces stress and gives jurors the opportunity to talk on their cell phones, or send text messages or emails on the way to and from the Court Building. This pilot project continues to operate at no cost to the Macomb County budget. Jurors need a smartphone to use the Uber app. For jurors who do not have a smartphone, the county clerk offers a free bus ticket.
“It was very convenient. I don’t have a vehicle at this time and would not have been able to serve,” said Laura Guzman of Clinton Township, MI, who participated in jury duty in June 2016.
“It was awesome! The ride from Uber helped me feel more safe than if I had to drive. It made it easier to serve on jury duty. I love Ubering!” said Jacqueline Blessman of St. Clair Shores, MI, who also served on jury duty in June 2016.
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About the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds
The has been the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds since 1993. She has been at the forefront of improving jury duty and other services. The Macomb County Clerk started a one-day, one-trial system that reduced jury duty from one week to one day for most jurors and reduced annual costs. She provides free wireless Internet service in the jury room so jurors can stay in touch with family or work while waiting to be picked for a trial. The Macomb County Clerk partners with the Mount Clemens Public Library to provide free library books on-demand, delivered from any library in the county, waiting when jurors arrive. Jurors receive reminder text messages prior to serving, which contain helpful tips. Jurors can sometimes get a cup of coffee, shop or simply get some fresh air, while waiting for a text message directing them to a courtroom. This program started as a partnership with the Mount Clemens business community to provide restaurant-style pagers to jurors, depending on court docket demand. The Macomb County Clerk provides self-serve kiosks for jurors to check-in upon arrival, answer questionnaires, and update their personal information. The Macomb County Clerk partners with Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation to provide free bus tickets to jurors without transportation.
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