As ADIs – and their pupils – are finding out, waiting times for tests, which have been at or around the DVSA target figure of six weeks since the start of the recession in2008, have been creeping up inexorably around Great Britain in recent months. And while many ADIs are grumbling that their local DTC is now struggling to offer driving tests within 10 weeks, in some parts of the country the situation is far worse.
Large cities such as Norwich and Nottingham are not taking any test bookings at all at the moment: the DVSA’s call centre is suggesting that when test slots come available, they will be for 2016!
While the MSA understands rising waiting times are the inevitable consequence of an improving economy, the disparity between sometimes neighbouring test centres has to be tackled immediately. “This situation is intolerable,”
In comparably sized English cities the waits vary from seven weeks in Canterbury and eight in Lancaster to 11 in St Albans and 13 in Cambridge.
It is also important to remember the devastating effects of these long waits on pupils who fail their tests. Failing a test today for one mistake and then being required to wait until next year for a retake is unacceptable.
DVSA are keen to ensure that ADIs are fit and proper people; MSA do not think the service being offered by the agency is currently fit for purpose or at a proper level for a monopoly service provider,
The MSA has drawn up a petition on The UK Parliament Petitions website to try to raise the profile of this issue. In it we call for the DVSA to take action to standardise the time pupils have to wait to book an-test as much as possible.
It states: Waiting times for driving test appointments to be equal across Great Britain.
It adds: The current situation where, in some parts of GB, the waiting times for driving tests is just six weeks, while another places, such as Norwich, no driving test appointments are available until 2016,is unacceptable. It is making it impossible for learner drivers to take training in planned manner.
The disparities in England are matched in Scotland and Wales. In Wales the wait at Newport (Gwent) is seven weeks while at Pwllheli, no test slots are available. In Scotland, the waiting time at Inverness for a test is eight weeks, while half an hour away in Alness there are no dates available. No dates are available in Fort William, Oban, Isle of Mull, Mallaig, Inveraray, Kyle of Lochalsh, Isle of Skye, Callander or Ballachulish, either.