February Roll Out for New Vehicular Licensing System in Grand Bahama

The much-anticipated new vehicular licensing system for the country, which began implementation in October of last year in the capital, is expected to be rolled out in Grand Bahama the first week of February 2017.

This was revealed by Minister of Transport & Aviation, the Hon. Glenys Hanna-Martin during an interview while in Grand Bahama recently. She pointed out that in February, the Road Traffic Department will implement the new vehicular licensing system, which will include a new license plate colour and a new driver’s license.

According to the Transport Minister the Government of The Bahamas entered into a contractual arrangement for the implementation of a fully automated road traffic system, to include the newly-designed vehicle license plate and new digital driver’s license.

“The new system has a number of outstanding features which will improve efficiency – something that has been missing for a long time,” added Minister Hanna-Martin. “The new system also has significant security components, which will greatly assist the police, insurance companies, the courts, customs and the treasury.

“So, we were seeking to design, as far as possible, a fool-proof system that is efficient, and a customer-friendly service for the Bahamian people.”

There has been much talk about the new license plate, and Minister Hanna-Martin noted that the new plates will be the color of the Bahamian flag — Aquamarine, embossed with black numbers.

She pointed out that the new design was not just about aesthetics.

“The new plates have been designed to be peculiarly receptive to CCTV,” Minister Hanna-Martin pointed out. “In fact, we collaborated with the police department on the design of the new plate. The numbers on the plate have been designed to glow in the dark, which will assist the police and CCTV in identifying a vehicle, even in a situation where there is low light.

“At present the new plates are being created in conjunction with the Ministry of National Security, under the most secure circumstances.”

There will also be a new driver’s license, which will have its own set of security features as well.

The new licenses were first rolled out in Nassau in December of last year and according to the Minister, these new security features are unprecedented in the country’s driver’s license history.

“We are looking at doing some other things to improve the information on the new driver’s license, but currently it is a secure new license.  The new card will also be embossed with some of the country’s national symbols and will be covered with the national colors as well.”

The Transport Minister admitted that there may be some minor glitches when the new system is rolled out in Grand Bahama during the first week of February, although she is hoping for those glitches to be kept to a minimum.

Minister Hanna-Martin admitted that when the new system was first rolled out in New Providence there was a certain degree of confusion and even the word “chaotic” was thrown about.

“There were long lines, people were frustrated and that was understandable, but since then all of the glitches have been resolved and now when drivers in Nassau go to renew their drivers’ license or to get their cars licensed, people are being efficiently moved through the system,” she said.

“And it would be even more efficient if drivers go to the Road Traffic Department with the proper paper work, such as passport, driver’s license, NIB card or Title Deeds to vehicles. But when all of this information is entered into the system, it would be at the best possible entry, from a security point of view.”

There has also been an effort on the part of the Road Traffic Department to keep the numbers on the license plate to a minimum, so that means all of the new plates will have letters as well as numbers. In Grand Bahama, the first few thousand plates will have the letters GB, followed by the license number. Plates after a certain amount will have the letters FP, followed by the number.

“All of these features have not only been designed with the customers in mind, but also to assist the police on the streets,” Minister Hanna-Martin noted. “The same will be done in Abaco, Eleuthera, Bimini and all of the Family Islands.”

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