Published in News

DVLA tax disc renewal site buckles

by on03 October 2014

Thousands of motorists affected

The UK’s DVLA tax disc renewal website has collapsed under pressure of high demand and been taken off line. The DVLA’s new vehicle tax site has crashed due to the large volume of people attempting to renew their tax online after paper discs were abolished.

Apparently the site was getting more than 6,000 visits a minute, it remained up but by Wednesday morning when the new rules came into effect it was overwhelmed. The site labelled as a “beta” service despite alternatives to the new system not being in place, is part of the government’s new digital-first policy led by the Government Digital Service (GDS). 

The DVLA said that over 270,000 motorists had managed to renew their vehicle tax Tuesday, which was 30,000 more people than the same time last year. But despite the DVLA’s suggestions to “keep trying” the site was completely unresponsive. A renewal service via phone is also available, but customers on Twitter claimed both the site and the phone service were as effective as a chocolate teapot.

Some moaned that they had been up all night attempting to renew their vehicle tax as required by law. The new vehicle tax service relies on the DVLA’s digital records and a vehicle’s number plate, rather than a paper tax disc that must be displayed in the windscreen of the vehicle. It is supposed to make life easier – which it probably will, when the government splashes out on a bit of bandwidth and software that is more robust.

The DVLA issued a statement today that it has fixed the problem and everything works. However this does not bode well for the rest of the government’s plans to put every service online that can be online. In its first three years, GDS prioritised six popular government services including voter registration, patent renewal and the booking of prison visits, and has 19 more in development not yet ready to replace older systems.

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