The Minister of Transport and Local Government has expressed satisfaction with the national road traffic upgrade in technology.
Minister Frankie Campbell, in his presentation in the House of Assembly on Monday, acknowledged that the newly installed automated system utilized by the Road Traffic Department (RTD), while offering a number of beneficial improvements to the former procedures, is a good one.
He pointed out however, that the evolution did not come without incident.
“There has been no shortage of controversy surrounding the operations of the Road Traffic Department, especially in recent months as the department underwent full automation of its vehicle and driver’s licensing system, through a company called Data Talk. I can tell you that this government has concerns about the process and the manner in which this new system was rolled out. I am presently conducting an entire review of all that took place. I can ensure the House that the findings will be made public and that accountably will be first and foremost in my mind.
“The roll-out of the new vehicle licensing system took place on October 27, 2016 at the Thomas A Robinson Stadium, the department’s present operating facility. The driver’s licensing system followed suit, on December 17, 2016. While the automated system may have been intended to be customer oriented, it created more stress for the customers that it intended to serve. There were long lines for days. There were endless complaints throughout social media and talk show radio. While I am satisfied that the system itself was and is a good idea, I remain concerned about the manner in which it was initially executed. However Mr. Speaker, in fairness, I must say of the positive features of the system are the capabilities of greater operational and revenue collection, and efficiency for the department,” opined the Minister.
Such features include online communications with leading government agencies such as the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), The Bahamas Immigration, Bahamas Customs Department, the Ministry of Finance, as well with insurance companies and banks.
“We are patiently waiting the relevant departments to upgrade their systems, to connect via specific secured platforms. The automated system operates as a service bureau or turnkey solution for the delivery and processing of all road traffic services including inventory trafficking, revenue collection and reporting; all in an effort to improve efficiency and effectiveness and the department’s performance in a changed environment. The system also provides a measure of accountability if it becomes necessary to track an activity registered within it,” said the minister.
Based on information received within his ministry, he also offered details on the RTD throughout the country.
The following sites have undergone full automation: the Carmichael Road office, the Freeport office, Eleuthera offices, and Abaco offices. The total amount allocated for the project was $8,371,908.00. As the automated system is a ministerial finance project, the exact funds expended thus far would have to be provided by that ministry.
According to Minister Campbell, the tentative schedule for the roll-out of the automated system on the Family Islands, where there is a Road Traffic Department present is as follows: July 2017, Exuma and Long Island; August 2017, Andros and the Berry Islands; September 2017 Cat Island, San Salvador and Bimini; October 2017 Inagua, Mayaguana, Ackilins and Crooked Island. The estimated cost associated with the roll-out process in the remaining islands are: hardware and other equipment $193,120.52; travel and accommodations for persons installing the system, $93,060.00; training and staff on the use of the system.
The entire budget allocation for the Ministry of Transport, Local Government and aggregate is $57,576,910.00. The allocation is spread over several departments, which operate, to a large degree autonomously.