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CALL 6: Drivers complain traffic court not answering phone

Posted at 5:18 PM, Dec 08, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Marion County Clerk’s office is vowing to make changes to its phone system after complaints from people who say they can’t get through to the Marion County Traffic Court.

Tracie Simmons contacted Call 6 Investigates after she had repeated problems getting a hold of a real person at (317) 327-5738.

“I called over and over and one day, I called five times,” said Simmons.

Simmons received a traffic ticket for not having headlights on in her rental car, and she’s disputing the ticket.

However, she’s been unable to reach the traffic court to get a court date.

Simmons said as a result, the BMV sent her a letter on Nov. 30 notifying her that her driver’s license is suspended.

The letter lists the traffic court address and phone number, the same number Simmons has been dialing.

“Something has to be done,” said Simmons. “I’m just trying to get my license back.

Over the past few days, Call 6 Investigates also tried calling the Marion County Traffic Court, also known as Superior Court 13, and was often greeted with a recording.

“Thank you for calling Marion County Traffic Court,” the recording says. “Due to a high volume of calls, we cannot answer your call at this time. Please call back later. Thank you.”

The traffic court recording does not allow callers to leave messages.

Simmons, who lives on the northwest side, said she can’t drive to traffic court, which is located at 8115 E. Washington Street.

“My license is suspended, plus it’s on East Washington and that is a distance,” said Simmons. “I can’t do that.”

Call 6 Investigates contacted traffic court Judge Marcel Pratt, who said his office has been plagued with phone problems for years, and that it’s the clerk’s office responsibility.

“Court 13 is not responsible for the phones,” said Judge Pratt. “This has been going on before I got here two years ago.”

Pratt said he often gives defendants the staff member’s direct phone numbers so that they can get through to someone. 

“It’s like knocking on a door,” said Judge Pratt. “How long do you expect people to stand there without the door opening?”

Call 6 Investigates reached out to Russell Hollis, deputy director for the Marion County Clerk’s Office, who acknowledged problems with the phone system.

“We are currently working with the Marion County/City of Indianapolis enterprise to improve the call flow and customer experience for those who call the Marion Superior Courts – Traffic Division,” said Hollis. “We anticipate the improvements will be phased in throughout this month and the near future.”

Call 6 Investigates stopped by traffic court late Thursday morning, and witnessed at least three workers answering the phones.

While Call 6 Investigates was there, callers were able to get right through without waiting.

However, their system only allows a few callers in the queue at a time, so if you call during a busy time, you may get the “call back later” recording.

Among the planned phone system improvements include giving callers more options to check how much they owe and when their court date is, as well as allowing more callers to wait in the queue.

Busy times for the traffic court office include first thing in the morning and during lunch time.

If you’re trying to talk to a real person, you can try calling during the mid-morning or late afternoon or hitting redial until you reach someone.

Tracie Simmons hopes they get the phones fixed for good.

“I hope they understand your system is failing,” said Simmons.