A DRIVING instructor from Oswestry is urging people to sign a petition to bring a permanent driving test examiner to the town’s centre because of a severe shortage tests.

Gareth Jones, of Stop and Go Driving School and the chairman of Oswestry and District Driving Instructors Association, started the petition after none were available in the town until beyond February 2020.

Currently, as Oswestry’s centre is classed as an ‘outpost’ centre, tests are conducted by examiners who travel in from Wrexham or Shrewsbury.

Because of the reduced number of lessons available, learner drivers hoping to take their tests in Oswestry have been made to wait for more than four months to find a test date.

Since several complaints have been put in by members of the Oswestry and District Driving Instructors Association, more tests have been made available, but the centre is still yet to find out whether it will have a designated driving examiner.

Gareth said the longstanding problem has caused upset for both instructors and students across the town.

“What we want sorting is a permanent examiner for Oswestry, and regular tests,” he said.

“Instructors shouldn’t have to phone up and complain to have something done about it.

“It’s difficult for instructors to teach when students don’t know when they will be able to sit their test, even when they’re ready.

“We’ve been advised in the past to take students to Wrexham or Shrewsbury to take their tests instead, but that has a bad impact on the environment because of the increased travelling.

“It also passes the problem on to other centres and could eventually see them having less tests to offer.

“It’s been very stressful for a lot of the instructors in the area – some of them are upset because they have students who are ready to sit their test, but they don’t know when they’ll be able to take them, so they have upset customers because instructors are unable to offer a good standard of service.”

More tests have now been made available as early as November 4 with external examiners set to come to Oswestry for some time.

However, the association wants people to continue signing the petition for a permanent examiner in the town, so more lessons can be offered consistently.

He added: “If you look online right now it isn’t so bad, but that’s because of the complaints put in.

“Last week, we looked as far as February and there were no tests available. We were unable to search any further than February.

“From August, there were no lessons available until the turn of the year – it has been an ongoing problem since May.

“We used to have two examiners in Oswestry working three days, meaning six days’ worth of tests were on offer each week.

“That was until one examiner left and we were overlooked when it came to having replacement examiner.

“Soon after, for whatever reason, Oswestry was left without any examiners – Whitchurch is a test centre of similar size, and there was still five days’ worth of lessons there.

“After several complaints over the past few weeks, tests became available all of a sudden.”

Anyone wishing to sign the petition can do so by visiting www.change.org/p/dvsa-driving-tests