Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of Licensing Agency, RTA Image Credit: © XPRESS / Megan Hirons Mahon

Dubai: Opticians may soon be authorised to renew driving licences, a top official said.

Ahmad Hashim Behroozian, CEO of Licensing Agency of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said motorists should be able to renew driving licences at "trusted" eye care centres in Dubai by the end of this year.

Licence renewal applicants currently have to visit opticians for eye tests and personally hand over the report at RTA customer service centres or to Dubai Police.

But an online link planned between city opticians and the RTA will allow applicants to complete all renewal steps — including fine payments — at eye test centres. There will be no extra charge for the one-stop service.

Two optician chains — Al Jaber and Al Yateem — have already been authorised to provide the renewal service. Visiting applicants at other "trusted agents" will be issued an "interim driver's licence" valid until the delivery or collection date scheduled for the renewed licence.

"I don't see why people should need to visit service counters… We're keeping people away from lines, providing one-stop services," Behroozian said.

He added that the agency is also planning an online appointments system for car re-registration tests by year-end. Motorists with an RTA online account will be able to select a testing centre, time and date for the registration renewal tests. There may even be dedicated bays for vehicle tests that are booked online, Behroozian said.

The plan is expected to significantly cut waiting lines at registration renewal test centres for vehicles (like Tasjeel and Al Shamil branches), he added.

"Right now there's a first-come first-serve system in place; there may be crowding at some centres. But — as a free service — you will be able to choose the centre and time, or they will give you the next available appointment," he said, adding that vehicles less than three years old don't need to be tested and their annual re-registrations can be done at car insurance companies.

"You need an insurance policy on the car, which will be linked electronically to us at the agency. There will interim documents that let you drive" until drivers get the renewed registration card, Behroozian added. The renewed registration card will be delivered by courier to applicants on request, or made available for collection at RTA service centres.

Behroozian said motorists are completing some 1,000 agency-related transactions online and through its call centre every month, with most involving car re-registration or licence renewal applications, fine inquiries and payments.