A Lisburn man caught up in confusion over the closure of the province’s DVA vehicle tax offices said this week more should be done to advise the public of which functions had transferred to the DVLA in Swansea and which had not.
The Department of the Environment, of which DVA is an agency, insists, however, that all relevant information pertaining to office closures and the transfer of functions was well publicised in the run-up to the July 21 changes.
It was in applying for a provisional driving licence for his granddaughter that Mr Brian Mundy ran into difficulties.
While Northern Ireland’s Driver and Vehicle Agency motor tax offices have closed, with vehicle licensing now delivered by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea, other DVA functions, including driver licensing, driver and vehicle testing,bus and taxi licensing and roadside compliance checks, have not been affected.
But according to Mr Mundy he was advised at a Post Office that the provisional licence application had to be sent to Swansea, only for the DVLA there to later inform him they had forwarded it to Coleraine.
In a related complaint, Mr Mundy said he spent almost half an hour in a phone queue when subsequently trying to contact the DVA in Coleraine, only for a recorded message to announce, upon his reaching the head of the queue, that all operators were busy, this immediately before the line went dead.
“People need to be told what’s what,” he said. “I’m not good with computers so that’s just not an option for me, and when I heard from Swansea that they had forwarded the application to Coleraine, I was thinking ‘Do they not know Coleraine is closed?’
“I think a lot of people will be in the same position, not knowing what goes to Swansea and what goes to Coleraine, and it’s ridiculous that you can spend 25 minutes waiting in a queue on the phone and then it hangs up.”
A DoE spokesperson said the impending closure of DVA vehicle tax offices, and the fact that driver licensing and other functions would not be affected, was widely publicised, but by time of going to press, no response had been received in respect of Mr. Mundy’s complaint about telephone access.