‘DVSA: Service without delays?’

Following a rather acrimonious separation and divorce, I was contacted by the DVSA regarding the status of my small bus company, a specialist operation with a small number of standard national licences.

There were temporary problems with the amount of finances available, and I was invited to an informal chat with the Traffic Commissioner. This was very amenable; he was very understanding, and it was agreed that the company should downsize by one standard national licence disc. That was all okay and agreed, with the one disc being duly returned.

A few weeks later, finance was readily available and statements were sent to the Leeds office showing the required amounts in accounts in the company name. However, DVSA staff failed to take one of those into account, and this resulted in delays of a further week.

That matter was resolved and it was agreed to forward the additional disc on receipt of their fee of £122, which was sent on 16 June and cashed on 22 June by the DVSA. I subsequently received three letters from the DVSA, all copies of the same standard national licence reduced by one disc, all at the old operating centre!

A phone call to Leeds said they would correct the error and last week a letter came from Leeds – was it the new disc? No, it was the licence with the right operating centre.

Another phone call: “Where’s my disc?”

“Oh, it’s being processed, it’s gone from here to Wales to be done.”

And so seven days later, still no sign of the additional disc. For goodness’ sake, it’s the busy period and the additional disc makes an awful lot of difference at this time of year to the cashflow and profitability of any operator.

Another call to Leeds: “The disc has been approved, it’s going off to be printed, you might get it by the weekend.” For heaven’s sake, I need it before the weekend! You’ve had my money for well over four weeks.

Moving from the regional offices to Leeds for the TCs and their admin has been an unmitigated disaster: Unnecessary delays, cock-ups and gross incompetence that the industry doesn’t need. We get enough of that from government ministers.

Please, DVSA, get your act together. We work in a real world out here and we have to work for every penny; we can’t just send out letters demanding money for nothing.

If we as operators were as incompetent as the DVSA, if we operated our buses with these delays, we would have been put off the road ages ago. The system seems to be very one-sided.

Come on, let’s have some sort of reliable service without delays from the DVSA.

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