Driving tests at a rural testing centre will not resume until November – having been off the cards since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Tests at the Callander test centre are to resume in November this year after almost a year and a half.
Tests there are conducted from an office at Callander Youth Project in Bridgend.
In June this year, we told how bosses from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) had ordered an assessment of the facility in a bid to reopen in the town.
The Callander hub is to resume from November 16, with the DVSA saying that demand for driving tests is high and its examiners are fully deployed at present. In order to prevent disruption to candidates already holding test appointments, Callander driving test centre will reopen on that date.
The transport agency says that it’s aim is to increase testing whilst maintaining a Covid-secure service for learners and examiners.
Measures introduced to increase practical driving tests includes – offering overtime and annual leave buy back to driving examiners; asking all those qualified to conduct tests, but who do not do so as part of their current day job, to return to conducting tests; inviting recently retired examiners to conduct tests; conducting out of hours testing, including at weekends and on public holidays; and a campaign to recruit an additional 300 examiners.
DVSA Chief Executive, Loveday Ryder, this week told the Observer: “We’re doing all we can to provide as many tests as possible so we can get our services back to normal.
“I know learners will be keen to take their test now, but it’s important that candidates are properly prepared and don’t rush to take it.
“With more than half of candidates failing, and demand currently extremely high for tests, learners should only take their test when they are confident they can pass. This will help them to avoid a lengthy wait for a retest and help us by not adding to the backlog of tests.”
In September last year, the Observer told how concerns were raised after the test centre failed to reopen after the easing of lockdown restrictions – with the DVSA saying that the centre would not allow social distancing to be adhered to.
In January this year, one Callander business owner offered the use of his premises in the town that would allow testing to resume. Richard Johnson from MNV Consulting, based in Stirling Road, offered the DVSA use of part of the premises for the purposes of conducting driving tests. Mr Johnson had been put in contact with the DVSA by Trossachs and Teith ward councillor Martin Earl last October.
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Reacting to the re-opening date this week, Councillor Earl said: “While I would have liked to see the test centre in Callander re-open earlier, I can understand the pressures the instructors are under when dealing with the inevitable backlog they are working through at present.
“I’m delighted that we will see a test centre back in Callander and I would like to express my thanks to both the Youth Project for making their facility available and DVSA for their continued commitment to the area.
“We must always work hard to keep as many services locally based as possible.”