Would you drive for half an hour just to renew your driving licence photo? Well, you might have to if you’re set on doing it in person – there are currently 753 DVLA-approved Post Office branches.
Driving licences have to be renewed every ten years so that the photo can take into account the signs of aging, which are probably down, in part, to the stresses of running a car.
Until relatively recently you could turn up at your local Post Office to get a driving licence form to send off with a photo to the DVLA. Now, although you can still apply by post or online, if you want to do it in person you have to visit one of 753 Post Offices in the UK. Only in these particular branches will they take your photo to the required DVLA standards.
Tracking down your nearest approved Post Office
So, what’s the problem? Well, according to the Save the Photographers Campaign, this initiative adversely affects consumers and professional photographers alike. Anyone who doesn’t live close to one of the 753 designated Post Offices, and would prefer to avoid sending important documents through the post, may have cause for concern.
When you consider that there are 11,818 Post Office branches in the UK, there are currently only 753 branches that offer the new DVLA Photocard Renewal service. For example, if you’re in Skegness, Scunthorpe or Shrewsbury you’ll have to travel for over half an hour by road to find an approved Post Office.
Likewise, the loss of revenue high street photographers have incurred is estimated to place 350 businesses in danger of closure with around 5,000 jobs at risk. And for what purpose?
How would you like to renew your licence?
Around 2.4 million people need a new or replacement driving licence each year. I expect a fair proportion of them would like to visit their closest DVLA-approved Post Office and pay the £4.50 it costs to have staff take their photograph (this is on top of the £20 DVLA fee).
What bugs me is, if you can send your own photo by post to the DVLA, why can’t you turn up to a Post Office and submit your own printed photo? I’m sure the DVLA has a reason, but I can’t think of one.
The Save the Photographers Campaign believes this is just part one in a larger plan to centralise photo IDs, with a similar plan for passport photos being the next logical stage.
I can see the benefit of this scheme (it’s trusted and they’ll do all the work for you) and it may suit some people, but does it have to be detrimental to those who might prefer to take their own photos or use a professional service? Surely there’s room for both?