MOTORISTS AND car hire firms have been left in the lurch after the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) website struggled to cope with demand after the introduction of a new online system to check drivers’ convictions.
Users of the new digital service at gov.uk/view-driving-licence, which was switched on at midnight last night, have complained that the system was not working properly this morning. Several took to Twitter to complain.
@DVLAgovuk I was trying share driving licence for the first time. I got the error 405 not allowed?
— Amry Affan (@Amry747) June 8, 2015
DVLA website just crashed on me, not sure @DVLAgovuk were ready for this 🙁
— Ian Stokes (@oxfordwilson) June 8, 2015
@DVLAgovuk Your site gives 405 not allowed and 500 internal server error 3 times in 2 hours – cant get details for tomorrow car hire at 2330
— John G (@johnrg_t) June 8, 2015
Attempts by Driving today also resulted in the 405 and 500 errors.
The new system was introduced to the UK (excluding Northern Ireland) as part of a DVLA bonfire of the paperwork. From today the paper counterpart of the driving licence is no longer in use: evidence of driving endorsements and convictions is held online only. Motorists must log on to the DVLA website to obtain a code that gives access to their endorsement details if they want to hire a car, either in the UK or abroad.
The DVLA said that the scheme would save motorists £8m a year – the cost of replacing lost documents – although many predicted problems in hiring cars, particularly abroad. As revealed by Driving, Avis and Budget have decided not to use the codes so as to help prevent chaos at their rentals desks.
The BBC said that it had received a number of reports from hire firms unable to access parts of the website on Monday. One in Bristol said it had a queue of 20 people as staff struggled to find their details online. Another hire firm nearby had “a queue of customers out of the door”.
However, the DVLA said that no car hire firms had come to it to complain of problems so far and played down the problems.
“It’s normal when you have exceptionally high demand with a brand new service,” it said. “Obviously we’ve had lots of media coverage today as well, so people are probably all accessing the service at the same time.”
The agency said 30,000 drivers had managed to use the service already but it would be trying to improve the speed of the website.