Proposal for Crowd-sourced Data Collection of Waiting Time at Public Service Counters

We all have been in that situation. We go to a service counter for a specific purpose, be it passport renewal, registration of child birth, banking matters, or others. We take a queue number, which is quite a common system in place, and we wait our turn. People usually pass the waiting time by doing various activities, such as playing games, reading newspapers, or talking among themselves, while waiting for their turn. In many cases, as is common with public services that have to serve hundreds, if not thousands, customers daily, the wait can be exhausting.

For some time now, whenever I go patronize one of these services, I would record the service counters’ service time from the current number in queue up to my own number. With certain sample sizes, I was able to predict, with a fair accuracy, how long my number would be called. In cases where I have to go to the same office multiple times, its past data tremendously helped me save time. I could take my number, crunch it in my tracker, and I would have the estimated time for my number to be called. I could then go have some coffee nearby, for instance, without just waiting at the service hall.

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