Wednesday, 25 February 2015

"250 C"

The BBC reports that the FVLA is auctioning off this registration number and expects to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds for it.

But what are people actually paying for (vanity aside)?

What if - as a thought experiment and not a policy proposal! - the government decided to simply install a trackable chip in all cars instead and abolished the requirement to have a unique, registered number plate visible at the front and back. This is perfectly do-able in urban areas e.g. Singapore.

In that case, people would be free to drive round without visible number plates, or to stick on any old number plates they liked as decoration; be that their initials, car make and model, telephone number, favourite football team, whatever.

In which case, surely, vanity registration numbers would be worthless. So, what are people paying for? It's a simple question with a simple answer.


Steven_L said...

Aberdeen has the highest per capita number of personal plates. If Scotland becomes independent, the market will be flooded.

Lola said...

I got a personal plate completely by accident. Does that let me off the vanity bit?

James Higham said...

or to stick on any old number plates they liked

That would clearly be outlawed as it would differ from the registered number.

Lola said...

Give them trackable chips and 'they' will use it to track you all the time. So, no.

The Stigler said...

We have an electronic tag for the Autoroutes. Saves queueing up for so long.

I'm not sure of the benefits of your scheme. Plates don't cost much, you'd still need a registration system for the tags and lots of tag readers. Works for Singapore's road pricing.

I suppose someone has a monopoly on putting B1LLY at the front of their car, but that's something I'm as likely to pay for as a tattoo.

Mark Wadsworth said...

SL, possibly.

L, yes.

JH, no, you'd need the chip by law, no stipulations at all as to 'number plate'.

L, that was a hypothetical situation to lead up to the actual question: what are people paying for?.

TS, there are no benefits to the chip scheme, that was a hypothetical. And no you wouldn't, because you are not called Billy.
So far, only TS has come close to answering the question.

Bayard said...

Well, it's not "look at me, I can afford a personalised number plate" as they were still popular when you could get them for nothing, like Lola did. Being able to have what you like on the plates, as you can in the US, I believe, doesn't stop people doing it either. Also it's not the same impulse that leads people to name railway engines, ships or lorries, as the number plates usually reflect the owner's name or occupation. Some are obviously for their "humour" value, like PEN15 or OBO110X, but as far as the rest are concerned, it must just be the case that some people like having a number plate that spells their name or something like it. Perhaps it's just a desire to personalise something that is otherwise the same as hundreds of others. After all, how many objects do you own that you can say with certainty are truly unique to you?

View from the Solent said...

Um, how would the Eyeball Mk 1 identify a vehicle?

Lola said...

FWIW. Mine arrived on a Daimler Sovereign (an original Jag S Type variant) that my dad bought new in 1968. He then just kept it going for me until I had my own car to put it on. Firstly a Morris 1000 pick up (!) and then onto a car I built. I still have that, although it is off the road pro-tem. I used it for autotesting for quite a few years and it was nice to have the plate.
I hope you all find that a story worth telling...