EDITORIAL | Online booking good news for drivers

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It is welcome news that, before the end of 2019, Nelson Mandela Bay residents will be able to book for their learner’s and driving licence tests online.
The new system will also conveniently allow them to make pre-bookings online for the renewal of their driving and learner’s licences. The metro is among several cities in line for the roll-out of an online booking system already being piloted in Tshwane with encouraging results.
Safety and security boss Keith Meyer made the announcement on Friday, though traffic and licensing director Warren Prins says it is not yet clear when the system will be in place here.
The online system was introduced after the driver’s licence card authority responsible for licence testing was alerted to glitches in the software previously used.
That system has since been upgraded.
Visiting the traffic department, it has to be said, is seldom a pleasurable experience. In the Bay, it is not unusual to have to queue for a couple of hours and, even then, not get any joy at the end of your wait.
An online system makes sense as we are living in the digital age, with countless applications and other tools available that could streamline so many processes.
Online bookings will reduce the long queues known to occur at the Bay’s licensing centres in Uitenhage and Korsten, though the situation is much improved of late.
Shorter queues have been seen in Tshwane and the new system will hopefully ensure a more efficient service overall. It could even combat corruption by minimising the manipulation of processes by unscrupulous officials.
In addition, it is hoped the opening of the Motherwell Thusong Centre – which includes a traffic and licensing facility – will help cut down the amount of foot traffic at the Korsten testing centre in particular.
It is also high time the department actively starts chasing revenue in the form of outstanding traffic fines.
The establishment of a warrant of arrest unit is bearing fruit, though it would also be helpful to see road safety boosted by traffic police being more vigilant and visible.

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