In two weeks all licensing offices across Trinidad and Tobago are expected to start using a queue-management (Q-management) system. The Q-management system is the Transport Division’s most recent upgrade and started in January this year, in a pilot project at the Caroni licensing office.
In an interview with Newsday, Transport Commissioner Clive Clarke said he strongly believes the best way to fix transport was through the introduction of technology.
“I believe we must change the processes to fix Licensing –re-engineer, re-modify and in some cases just do away with the entire system.”
Clarke was appointed in January 2020 and by the end of the year, he promised easier access to licensing services in 2021.
Last year the division introduced the U-Turn system. This incorporates red-light cameras, a demerit points system, and a reformed fixed-penalty ticketing system. The division improved the current system so it can better track how many vehicles are registered and inspected and the number of permit transactions carried out daily.
The appointment system was introduced in June 2020 to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of covid19. This allowed customers to book appointments on the Ministry of Works and Transport website.
Former transport commissioners had challenges with introducing new processes, but with a background in IT and system development, Clarke implemented and merged technology to modernise the systems.
But along with the new processes to enhance the customer experience and reduce corruption, members of the public have found ways to cheat the new system. Clarke said people were ghost-booking, presenting duplicate appointment printouts as proof of booking, and others were selling bookings. And the issue of overcrowding that Clarke was trying to keep under control returned.
To work around this, the division developed the more robust Q-management system.
The Q-management system is done using kiosks – a computer-like machine with specialised hardware and software.
After the appointment is made online, on the day of the appointment, customers are required to enter the code given in the appointment confirmation into the kiosks, which will be inside the building, near the entrance.
Once the code is registered, the customer will now be in the system and will be given another code. This code will show on a display screen when it’s time for the customer to be served.
Clarke said the Q-management system has significantly reduced the overcrowding issues and exposed people trying to cheat the system.
There are 20 kiosks available. They were bought in 2018 from the Louis Company for $300,000 after the government short-listed five companies.
There are exemptions for people with "special transactions" who will get the same-day appointments to come into the system.
"It’s not the same-day appointment for anyone to skip anyone just to come in the Q-management system,” Clarke said.
By the end of the second week in April, all licensing offices will have Q-management systems. The machines will be distributed on the basis of the flow of customers at each office.
“We are still getting positive comments from sites that don’t have the Q-management system as yet…The Transport Commissioner is well aware that all is not well, that all is not as smooth as it is. That is why we are continuing to work to modify the system as we go along."