People are being guided on how to use online services by the staff of different government sectors at the Al Twar Centre during the 'A Day Without Service Centres' initiative in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: Government service centers across Dubai are closed today (Thursday) to mark 'A Day without Service Centers' initiative.

Most transactions provided by government entities are available only via smart channels, such as web portals, mobile apps and kiosks, to encourage customers to use smart channels to pay fees and other services.

Customers who visited the centers in the early morning were advised to go online and also guided on how they can use smart channels to complete their transactions. 

Related: Smart online services reduce footfall at Dubai immigration head office

Senior officials from various departments toured Dubai Municipality’s customer service Centres that house various government and private customer care offices. 

The tour of the directors of various government departments began at the Al Twar Centre at 8am.

Officials inspected how the customer care executives of various departments are assisting customers who walked in albeit the previous announcements about closing the service Centres for a day. 

Most of the counters at Al Twar Centre remained closed and majority of the customer care executives have moved out of their counters to makeshift counters made for them to sit with customers and explain to them about how to avail online services. 

Video by Janice Ponce de Leon/Gulf News

Equipped with laptops, tablets and iPhones, customer care executives guided customers with the steps to access the desired services.

Executives were also present at the electronic kiosks to assist customers in using them. 

Though there was confusion on the faces of some customers, many said they found using the online services easy after they were taught how to use them.

Ahmed El Sayed Hassan Soliman, a foreman with a factory, said he came to the centre to apply for a new copy of his driving license that he had lost.

He was assisted by an executive of the Roads and Transport Authority at the Smart Teller kiosk of RTA. 

Once he got his license printed through the kiosk, Soliman said the service was very fast.

“I didn’t know there is a system like this. Next time when I come for anything I will prefer using the kiosk instead of going to the counter,” the 43-year-old from Egypt told Gulf News. 

Some transactions that require physical appearance have remained open for people. People of with special needs and the elderly will continue to be served through counters today.

Completing transactions via smart channels helps customers save time, effort and money by avoiding use of private or public means of transport, cutting back on crowding roads and service centres, and this in turn rationalises fuel consumption, reduces carbon emissions and preserves environmental resources, officials have earlier said.

As part of its participation, Dubai Municipality also closed about 150 customer service counters in its four service centres for the same occasion as well. These counters are in the municipality’s service centers housing various departments such as the Hatta Centre, Al Twar Centre, Al Manara Centre, and Al Kifaf Centre.

The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs’ (GDRFA) Dubai headquarters already began to witness a decline in footfall a day before the event.

Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, had approved this initiative earlier last month.