New vehicle registration system wreaking havoc

The registration office in Ústí nad Labem, photo: CTK

The new vehicle registration system is, once again, out of order, wreaking havoc on hundreds of drivers. A problem connecting the system to police and European identification databases means that vehicles are being registered at a snail’s pace, and that is just the latest problem since the system was launched two weeks ago.

The registration office in Ústí nad Labem,  photo: CTK
The Transport Ministry’s new vehicle registration system – meant to make the process cheaper and more efficient – was in good working order for about one hour on July 9th, when it was launched, and has since been the source of incessant problems.

In Brno, dozens of people were waiting at the registration office where the automatic queuing machines only gave out tickets up to 200, whereupon many people left. At 8.30 a.m. the officials notified the applicants that vehicle registration was not be possible and recommended they try again in the afternoon, when the system may or may not be working. Would-be drivers faced a similar dilemma in Ostrava, where queues were cut off at 10 a.m., all in all creating an impossible situation particularly for those who rely on their cars for work, like this man who told Czech Television he had been urgently visiting the office for days.

“I’ve been here several times now, and there were no more tickets even if I came at 7 a.m. So today, the lady said she would take me but now she says the system isn’t working and I have to wait.”

Photo: European Commission
Among the newest problems, data for certificates of roadworthiness are not loading, leaving officials to fill them in by hand. Moreover the data that does load is often wrong and every item of the document has to be checked and fixed. The record of historical vehicles is not working. It is also impossible at the moment to transfer a vehicle from one person to another.

The problem is not actually the new applications themselves, which were ordered by the Transport Ministry, but their connection to the database of vehicles, which has led to the Transport Ministry and the Interior Ministry passing the blame and trying to locate the problem, agreeing only on the fact that no one knows when the system will be up and running again. The Transport Ministry claims that the main problem involves vehicles from abroad, and has recommended that vehicle registration be suspended for the time being to prevent people from, perhaps accidentally, registering a vehicle that had been stolen and then having it confiscated. Motor vehicle registration offices however say the problems are in fact more general, and all 206 of them have struggled with them since July 9, leaving many to wonder what the problem was with the original system.

“I got here at 7 a.m. and there was already a queue across the entire car park, and at around 8 o’clock I got number 212. I was here to register a car in May and everything was ready in 15 minutes. This new system is broken, I’m here for the third time now, and it looks like I’m not going to get to the front of the queue this time either.”

The registration office in Ústí nad Labem,  photo: CTK
The price of the software, which was ordered from the telecommunications company ATS – Telecom Praha without a tender, was 37 million crowns. Its operation is set to cost another 32.4 million. While the ministry’s contract allows it to impose a fine of two million crowns for every day that the system is inoperable, how much the state may end up paying in compensation for damages to drivers remains to be seen.