As use of online services surges, DVLA Lincoln staff protest against the proposed closure of the city branch
More than 51% of all motorists in Lincolnshire use digital services to tax or declare their vehicles off the road, according to new figures from DVLA.
The DVLA’s digital service, which includes online and telephone facilities, has been used in the UK more than 100 million times, four times more than last year.
The news comes as DVLA plans to close 39 regional offices, including the Lincoln branch on Firth Road, to centralise services and move them online.
Sixteen jobs are at risk in Lincoln and around 1,200 jobs nationwide, in a bid to save £28 million in the 2014/15 financial year.
As previously reported, staff at the Lincoln DVLA protested against the proposed closure of the centre in their lunch breaks on Tuesday.
Lauraine Compton, Lincoln DVLA PCS Representative, said the city office served more than 48,000 people with just 12 clerks last year.
She commented: “What about the people who can’t get online or aren’t comfortable using the internet?
“It is true that the automated systems will have helped in lowering the evasion rate, but the payments still have to be taken, people still have to appeal and prosecutions still have to be prepared and taken to court.
“Tickets from the police and other agencies have to be processed and local knowledge is vital in deciding if the offence is valid or not,” Compton explained.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “The numbers show that more and more motorists want to deal with the DVLA at a time and place that suits them.
“The digital service is quick and easy to use and enables the DVLA to automatically check that MOT and insurance is in place so customers do not have to dig out additional paperwork.”
Currently around two million vehicles each month are taxed or declared off the road by the DVLA digital service.
The busiest day for motorists using this service last year was on 28 February 2011 when 227,000 vehicles were taxed or declared off the road.