The new Smart 24/7 Licencing Centre, established by the City Traffic Police Lahore (CTPL), is a good step in making access to public services easy for citizens. Applying for a licence was a complicated and annoying procedure only two decades ago, and the strides made by the provincial police of Punjab in making this an easy process has been impressive. From being able to go to a one-window desk that allows for a learner’s permit to be granted immediately, the decision to now add the 24/7 timings for all those who had trouble visiting the centre during regular hours will certainly be a popular move.

But beyond making obtaining licenses easy, it is also the duty of the traffic police of the province to try and use the licensing procedure to improve checks and balances on drivers and allow for safer practices on the road to take precedence. The current process, regardless of how simple it is, still has a lot of holes. A lot of people currently driving on the streets have had no formal tests to see if they are road ready, and no theoretical understanding of the rules of the road—this is why there are so many violations and accidents in Lahore and beyond.

The traffic police would make its job much easier if drivers were taught to respect and follow traffic rules, without having to be fined for it. It is hoped that the 24/7 window ensures that strict standards are followed to grant licenses, and only those that actually understand traffic laws and safety are allowed to take to the roads.

The next step for the provincial service to make this an even easier process would be to take assistance from NADRA and also enable an online application system. Preliminary applications—before the testing phase—do not necessarily need an in-person visit to police stations. If we are making things simpler, this would also go a long way in making the license application much simpler for future applicants.