DataTorque, the advanced technology fueling the automated system at the country’s Road and Traffic Department, is running smoother than when it was first introduced to The Bahamas, according to Minister of Transport Frankie Campbell.
Campbell said, DataTorque, which had noticeably less hiccups this year, was recently implemented on the Family Islands to improve efficiency.
“The second year has been in effort toward expand the process to our Family Islands and that is where we still have a challenge,” Campbell told Eyewitness News Online.
“The challenges are getting connectivity through the internet provider to the various islands to ensure that what is happening in the islands is able to be communicated in real time to the main system here in New Providence.”
Campbell said that the opportunity for checks and balances has proven fruitful, as alleged attempts to circumvent the system, were discovered and thwarted in the first year.
“All in all, though, the impression is that it is a system that is benefitting us,” he said.
“I am satisfied that it has provided a platform for us to move forward. My hope is that we as a nation moves forward there would be more connectivity; interdepartmental interconnectivity and so the kind of information that Road Traffic has, all the other departments would be able to share information should it be necessary.”
According to Campbell, challenges in the initial stages were due to DataTorque asking for documents that people weren’t accustomed to being asked for when licensing their vehicles.
“It was an attempt to get complete information about the driver and their vehicles,” he said.
“It was also an attempt to provide an authentic certificate for the vehicle; in the event the vehicle is being sold, the particular certificate can be passed on from one owner to the next.”
The minister said that the process to bring a more efficient, computerized licensing and registration system to The Bahamas, has now bypassed the majority of the initial challenges it faced when it began.
“In its second year, which commenced in October (2017), the process is much smoother because those (needed) documents would’ve already been a part of the system; they would’ve been scanned and downloaded,” Campbell said.
The company partnered with local firm Network Security Consultant Group (NSCG) to assist with the implementation of the technology, together with United States companies General Dynamics and American Bank Note, which provided printers and new physical licenses.
“We’re delighted to be working with the government of the Bahamas to help them advance and to improve the customer experience for the public,” DataTorque Managing Director Bill Chatwin stated.
“Our Transport Management System (TMS) is helping them to reduce wait times, increase revenue and stop identity fraud. It’s a large, diverse rollout of our TMS software across more than 30 branches and across many of the Bahamas islands.”
DataTorque won the contract to work with The Bahamas government having previously delivered its revenue management system (RMS) to support the introduction of the government’s new value-added tax (VAT) in January 2015, and business licenses in August 2015.
“It is exciting to see the administration of transport licenses going from hand-written manual systems to leading edge laser engraved licenses with holograms and passport grade photos that are some of the most sophisticated and secure in the world and are near impossible to copy,” Chatwin added.
“By making their information easily accessible people can save time and effort while ensuring their licenses are all up to date.”
Since going live, Chatwin said, the business is now issuing “thousands of licenses” every week.
“The road traffic department together with the police are now much better equipped to monitor compliance which helps to make their roads safer and ultimately saves lives,” he added.
Introduced by the former Minister of Transport Glenys Hanna-Martin, DataTorque officially partnered with Road and Traffic Department in October 2016.
Based in Wellington, New Zealand, DataTorque specializes in the provision of tax collection processes, leveraging technology such as infrastructure services, data security and support.
The company has expertise across Africa and the Americas and key government customers include The Bahamas Department of Inland Revenue, Swaziland Revenue Authority and Samoa Ministry of Revenue, according to the company’s website.