Normal waiting time not long
I REFER to Stewart Aldcroft's letter headlined, ''Long wait at department's licence office'' (South China Morning Post, August 1).
We in the Transport Department are always conscious of the need to improve our services to the public.
At our licensing offices, we pledge to provide an efficient and courteous service in a clean and friendly environment.
The performance standards of our licensing services are expressed as waiting times.
The maximum pledged time required for a licence, including queueing and processing, ranges from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the time of day, the type of service, and the office visited.
The pledged waiting times which are posted at our licensing offices represent the average maximum times for delivering the respective services.
The waiting time could be short during off-peak periods, or longer at peak periods, such as lunchtime, or during the few days before the annual Budget Speech Day.
For example, if Mr Aldcroft visited our office before 9.30am, on a mid-week day, he would be able to obtain his licence within 15 to 30 minutes. However, if he was to come during the lunchtime peak period, he might have to wait for two hours.
In normal circumstances, the majority of our customers can renew and obtain their new driving and vehicle licences on the spot, with a waiting time of between 30 to 45 minutes.
This should not be considered unduly long bearing in mind the large demand for the service, and the necessary work involved, which includes checking and verification of particulars, data entry, preparation of the new licences, and payment.
In 1993, a total of over 2.5 million vehicle and driver licences were handled.
In addition, the actual approximate waiting time, at 15-minute intervals, is indicated on stands placed alongside the queueing area of the licensing hall.
These help to show the time customers should expect to wait at a particular point of the queue.
However, if they cannot afford to wait, they can take the alternative service available, by depositing their applications in the drop-in box provided in every licensing office. At present, all drop-in applications received are cleared at the end of the day, and will be sent back by registered mail to the applicant on the following working day.
Applications by post are also available, and our pledge is that they will be processed and returned within 14 working days.
As regards the validity period for driving licences, any change to the present arrangement will have wide-ranging implications which have to be carefully considered by the various parties concerned.
The whole question will be examined in the context of a general review on licensing services, which is to be carried out in due course.
E. S. W. LEE for Commissioner for Transport Transport Department