Monday, 28 July 2014

A solution to the passport problem

From the BBC

Hundreds of passport workers across the UK have gone on strike in a dispute over staff numbers and pay.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said the action was a "bid to end staffing shortages that have caused the ongoing backlog crisis".

Home Office data suggests about 360,000 applications are being processed - but it is not clear how many are overdue.

The Home Office said 875 PCS members had walked out and warned the action could jeopardise people's holidays.

Well, of course the PCS wants more (unionised) passport workers. The government would like less of them, but the passport application creates a backlog.

So, here's an idea: have a "summer" price for a passport and a "winter" price for a passport. Make it say, £5-10 cheaper if you buy one between September and March than April to August. Many people don't bother until just before they go and have no incentive to do otherwise. Give them an incentive, they might get a passport earlier and stop the crazy queues. And anyone who suddenly desperately needs a passport in July can easily get one.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Ooh sneaky but I like it.

Cue wailing about "passport agency charging more during peak season".

(AFAIAA they have always done this, if you need it in a hurry, they'll do it much quicker but you pay an extra £20 or something.)

Nope, they'll give discounts during the winter months :-)

Bayard said...

Another idea: simply extend the turn-around time for an application by a fortnight. Hey presto, the backlog is reduced and no extra staff required. If you want your passport quicker, you have to pay more, thus benefiting those who plan over those who don't.

mombers said...

How about a reminder to renew yr passport sent a year before it expires? I always renew a year before it expires but that's probably because South African renewals take a lot longer. Got my UK one now though, take that UKIP!