LTO e-patrol: A good idea if it worked all the time

stradcom bus

Photo: The Evil Stradcom Bus

I’m live-blogging this right from the site of one of those mobile LTO registration setups that on this fine Saturday morning is just so chock full of bugs that it isn’t even funny. “LTO e-Patrol” is the cutesy moniker they’ve given to this government agency’s outreach program that is supposed to make things easy for city residents.

They field a bus to subdivisions, housing projects, etc. on weekends and this allows you to renew drivers licenses and car registrations right on the spot. The bus is equipped with servers, laptops, digital photo processing, telecom equipment (I see a number of “wireless landlines” with this group) The “convenience” here is that you don’t need to skip work on a weekday to get this done at the chaotic LTO offices around town. And if you’re renewing your car registration they do emission testing as well.

It’s supposed to be an all-inclusive system, and the LTO has outsourced this to a tech company called Stradcom. The Stradcom system is supposed to be fully automated (or “computerized” as is the term we still use in the good ‘ol RP), from taking a picture (of the car? of the driver?), recording the emissions, and such. Then they forward you to the more plebeian LTO personnel with their manual typewriters and carbon paper forms.

Right now the system is down. There are about 50 people waiting in queue just waiting for the first step, which is emission testing. Stradcom can’t do the emission testing because “their server is down” whatever that means, and we can’t be processed. We’re waiting for their IT staff to come over with a fix, which will take about an hour for them to get here.

In the meantime, everyone is getting hot and bothered and cranky. I’ve managed to keep my cool because – well, I’m live blogging and distracted. The setup here is open from 8am to 12 noon. And it’s almost noon, which is when the heat is starting to get unbearable.

This is one of those instances where technology just gets in the way because there is no manual backup. In the old days, the less hi-tech emission testers were equipped with hand held battery-powered units that gave an LCD readout of your car’s emission results. They could write down the results on a form by hand or typed in on a manual typewriter.

What these STRADCOM folks could have done is have a manual backup to allow this emission testing pre-requisite to continue in the event their server craps out. Just a simple low tech plan B.

In the meantime, we wait. And the crowd is getting angry. There are a lot of trees around here, and I think that with enough rope we can have a proper lynching before lunchtime.

2 thoughts on “LTO e-patrol: A good idea if it worked all the time

  1. so it happens everywhere. they were just at our village (greenhills west) last saturday. it totally pissed me off when they said their systems were down (we were getting our car registered, and i was getting my license renewed), and “bumalik nalang kayo sa lunes”.

    i was like WTF? how can you come here without making sure this thing worked? the real pisser was that i had paid the 400 bucks for the drug test so i couldn’t pull out and go to say, galleria, instead.

  2. I came to know more about Stradcom. And I would just like to disagree with some of your point. STRADCOM provided the automation of the LTO process, in general, the motor vehicle’s recording and registration, driver’s license transactions, and Traffic adjudication system. In this point, the automation of third party companies related to the processes of LTO such as the Emission Testing, Insurance, Franchises, License ID printing, and Drug testing is not being handled by STRADCOM itself.

    The IT companies of these mentioned third-party affiliates just gives out the name of STRADCOM to the public when in fact they are the ones who have problem on their system. STRADCOM is a much bigger company than these affiliates, so they tend to hide on the back or shadow of STRADCOM when their IT infrastructure encounters a problem to protect their own image and let STRADCOM be blamed for all those IT-related problems.

    STRADCOM do also encounters a lot of problem, but they don’t hide it, they resolve the problem as much and as fast as they can, but they don’t hide from the shadows of their own contractors.

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