Shropshire's learner motorists face three month wait for driving tests

Reporter:

Georgia Macey

People learning to drive will have to wait for up to three months to sit their driving tests.

The Whitchurch driving test centre has a waiting time of at least 11 weeks.

Oswestry and Shrewsbury have a slightly longer waiting time of at least 13 weeks.

Ron Ingall, chairman of the Driving Association in Whitchurch, said: “We’ve had a lot of problems.

“People pass their theory test in time to take their driving test, but then with the waiting time being so long, they end up having to spend more money on driving lessons.

“It is complete lack of foresight by the DVSA.

“They should have been ready for the surge of 17-year-olds who will be wanting to drive.

“Examiners are working extra hours and getting sent back and forth to different areas to try to accommodate this problem.”

Alan Jones, manager at AJ Driving school, Oswestry, said it was causing learners extra stress. With complaints rising, he had emailed the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and was waiting for a response.

A DVSA spokesman told the Advertizer people may be able to get tests sooner at centres further away.

But Mr Jones said it was not good enough.

He said: “Learners shouldn’t have to wait this long when they feel they are ready to do a test. They are running up more bills and it is creating more stress.”

In Wales, at the Wrexham test centre, there are a few tests available because of cancellations, and learners face a seven-week wait.

DVSA operations director Richard Hennessey said: “We acknowledge that many of our customers are waiting too long to take a driving test.

“Over the past three years, demand for the driving test has increased by more than 226,000 tests.

“In 2016/17, there was an increase of 158,000 test applications, which led to longer waiting times in most parts of the country. Reducing car practical test waiting times and maintaining them is a priority for us.

“Since April 2016 we have recruited 412 driving examiners, and we are currently running another driving examiner recruitment campaign.

“In the future we will also be exploring how we can offer customers driving tests at a time that is convenient to them, for example in the evening or on the weekend.

“Candidates may also be able to get a test sooner by looking beyond their nearest test centre – currently nine out of 10 permanent test centres have tests available in the next seven weeks.

“At the start of this week, August, there were just over 14,300 tests available within the next seven weeks across Great Britain at permanent test centres.”

Email:

georgia.macey@nwn.co.uk

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