Untaxed vehicle sign

Government plans to centralise DVLA operations could lead to delays in taxing vehicles and the issuing of drivers' cards, as well as creating additional administrative costs for operators, warns the FTA.

Transport minister Mike Penning announced last week that 39 regional DVLA offices would close by the end of 2013, with all services shifted online, handled by intermediaries (such as local Post Offices) or via a centralised operation at Swansea.

However, the FTA says local DVLA offices play a vital role in the smooth running of operators’ businesses, and if the proposed alternative system is not geared up to deal with bulk fleet enquiries, it could mean the majority of transactions being dealt with via post. This could lead to delays in operators receiving essential documents, especially during holiday periods, resulting in vehicles being taken off the road.

Ian Gallagher, FTA policy manager for driver licence and vehicles registration, says the DVLA must deliver an alternative that is fit for purpose and benefit businesses. "We won’t accept a system simply geared towards certain sectors, resulting in additional burden with our membership paying thousands of pounds in extra administrative cost," he adds.

Fleet operators’ responses to the government consultation, seen by MT, raise issues over special vehicles types, reduced pollution certificates and the current costs of taxing trucks online.

One operator says: "As a medium-sized operator, with 130 lorries and 20 other vehicles, we have to tax a portion of vehicles every month…this could be as many as 12-15 lorries. To do this online we need a credit card with a £30k limit. Currently we can tax one vehicle at a time costing £2.50 for using the card. Any new system must enable us to batch process vehicles and pay one transaction charge."

Another respondent adds: "The Post Office in our area cannot deal with large amounts of vehicles to tax at once…On a monthly basis, this is around 270 per month."