A senior Transport for London (TfL) official has welcomed today’s launch of the newly formed Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), formed by the merger of Vosa and the DSA.

Leon Daniels, MD, surface transport at TfL, said he believed the merger showed much promise, as it should reduce bureaucracy and improve communications. “We think our relationship with the new agency will be better than with the two previous agencies,” he added.

The merger of the two former agencies followed a public consultation last year, with the DVSA now being the sole point of contact for driving tests, goods and passenger vehicle testing, operator licensing and supervision of MoTs, as well as being responsible for enforcing vehicle and driving standards.

The DVSA will employ more than 4,000 staff who will issue 87,000 O-licences annually and inspect 790,000 commercial vehicles.

DVSA chief executive Alastair Peoples, who previously headed up Vosa and DSA, said a single agency would provide a more coherent approach to service delivery. “The two former agencies were already undertaking work to make driver and vehicle testing more flexible and convenient for customers. DVSA will continue to keep pace with customers’ needs and deliver services in a way which is both convenient and cost effective,” he added.

Senior Traffic Commissioner (TC) Beverley Bell said it was too early at this stage to tell how things will change once the merger is effective, however it meant that the TCs would be a “smaller part of an even larger agency”.

Bell added: “I'm looking forward to working with them to see how the service we get can improve. We will need to educate key DSA staff to make sure they know what we are doing and the levels of service we get and we give to operators improves. Our own computer system is being replaced and that will offer a better service to operators and those applying for O-licences. It's vital enough resources are put in to this system.”

She is also keen that the O-licence fee funds will be spent wisely by the DVSA. “Our budget comes from O-licence fees. It is vital as far as I am concerned that the fee income is used for appropriate purposes for TCs. It is such a tiny budget, circa £11m. We want to make sure it is being spent wisely.”

The FTA and RHA have urged the DfT to carry out a “hands-on” leadership role in shaping the direction of the new agency, and to demonstrate how commercial fleet operators fit into the new structure.