As characteristic of the first working day of January, hundreds of vehicle owners, on Monday, besieged the offices of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to register their vehicles.
About 500 vehicles had been issued with the coveted 2021 number plates at the DVLA Accra Regional Office at 37 in Accra as of 10 a.m. when the Ghanaian Times visited there, with other vehicle owners awaiting their turn.
All visitors entering the main yard of the office were made to wear nose mask, get their temperature checked and hands washed in compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
Outside the office, providers of secretarial services, including photocopying, typesetting and printing, as well as passport picture outlets, were beckoning prospective customers to patronise their facilities.
It was observed that there was less vehicle congestion in the yard as compared to the same time last year, although the registration created intermittent gridlock on the road leading to the office.
The DVLA Regional Manager, Atta Kumah Mensah, told the Ghanaian Times that the decongestion was as a result of some measures put in place to avoid overcrowding and stress.
These measures, he said, included the pre-inspection of many cars last year, ahead of their registration; increase in the number of customs officials to lessen the turn-around time at the inspection side; and the creation of more points of service.
“About three-thirds of vehicles expected to be registered this year were released last year between October and November for pre-inspection and other requirements and this has helped reduce the pressure here,” he said.
On the COVID-19 protocols, Mr Mensah said in anticipation of the huge numbers of registrants, Veronica buckets, sinks and sanitiser dispensers had been installed at the entrance and vantage points in the yard.
Additionally, he said, security guards had been provided with thermometer guns to check the temperature of visitors, and ensure social distance was observed throughout their stay.
Unlike 37, the Weija DVLA office was less crowded but the customers were anxiously waiting for their turn to register their vehicles amidst complaints of slowness of the process.
Meanwhile, the DVLA has announced the extension of validation period of the 2020 Trade Licensing (DV-2020) plate to the end of the month due to an ongoing project to prevent duplication of such plates and track fake plates.
The trade licensing plates are issued by the Authority to garages, fleet owners and dealers to enable them to use their unregistered motor vehicles for 12 months in line with the provisions of Road Traffic Regulations.
In a letter addressed to the Ghana Police Service, the Chief Executive Officer of DVLA, Kwasi Agyeman Busia, asked the service to allow the users of the plates to continue using them for the extended period.