Swallowfield depot a symbol of efficiency
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Over the years, I have seen the fitness-certification process at the examination depot on Swallowfield Road move from being a frustratingly chaotic experience to an almost pleasant exercise.
In the earlier years, one had to plan for a three-hour wait, regardless of the number of vehicles to be examined. This got reduced to an approximate one-hour experience and now has improved tremendously.
Last Thursday, I went to have my vehicle examined and the process took me 10 minutes. The inspectors were professional, courteous and pleasant. There is also improvement in the waiting area. Whereas previously everyone had to huddle outside in the sun while waiting for the certificates to be processed, there is now a pleasant air-conditioned, waiting area. I find this a very welcoming experience, as customer service is an area that needs serious improvement in this country.
I welcome every demonstration which shows that we can offer good service. I was driving out of the depot after 20 minutes - the last 10 minutes was just waiting for the certificate to be completed.
The certificates are handwritten. This last 10 minutes could be improved if the process was computerised, as happens at the Inland Revenue offices. So while I commended the examination depot for the great improvement, I am suggesting that they look at this area to make the process an even more pleasant one.
The certificates are now issued for one year, where previously it would have been for a longer period, depending on the condition of the vehicle. I see this reduction as a quietly effective revenue collection strategy of the Government.