'Ridiculous' issues at Weston-super-Mare Driving Test Centre

PUBLISHED: 13:30 26 August 2016

Archant

Weston Driving Test Centre has been described as 'appalling' and 'not fit for purpose', with an 18-week waiting list and booking system issues combining to cause chaos for the town's learner drivers.

A week ago, the Mercury revealed the state of Weston’s test centre waiting lists, highlighting the 16-week-long wait for drivers booking their practical driving test, and the situation has only worsened in the days since.

The waiting list has now lengthened by two weeks and limitations to the DVSA booking system mean tests cannot be booked more than 18 weeks in the future.

Therefore, the only appointments available are cancellations or out-of-hours exams, but these are only available at short notice – making it almost impossible to book a test.

Frustrated parent Steve Price, who has been trying to book a test for his daughter in Weston, described the test centre as ‘appalling’.

He said: “Weston Driving Test Centre is not fit for purpose and Weston’s population needs to know about it.

“I’ve just gone back in to the system, and there are now no slots available at all.

“If you live in Weston and want to book your test, you simply cannot.

“I spoke with customer services and they said nothing they can do about it, tough luck.”

Neil Bayliss, of Weston and Mendip Advanced Motorists gave his view on the state of the test centre.

He said: “The situation in Weston is now ridiculous to put it mildly.

“There are now no available tests for as far as their system goes which is Christmas.

“I believe their computer system will only allow bookings for a set period in advance, which seems to be 18 weeks.

“I don’t know if tests can be booked further ahead by phone with DVSA as I don’t have the time to sit on the phone for more than half an hour to try to get through to them.”

Mr Bayliss says he is on the verge of abandoning Weston’s test centre for some of his students as waiting times elsewhere are significantly shorter.

He added: “I’m seriously thinking of offering tests in Taunton if pupils are prepared to spend a full day there for their mock test and area orientation a couple of weeks before their driving test.

“The waiting list there is seven weeks, so I don’t know why they don’t move some of the examiners up from Taunton for a short period of time. This is something they have done before.”

The Mercury approached the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to comment on the concerns hanging over Weston Driving Test Centre, but a response was not received at the time of going to press.

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