Testing times for learners

The Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association (CPSU/CSA) is pushing for more resources be put in place so scheduled PDAs at nine of the Department of Transport�s (DoT) licensing centres, including Willagee, are not cancelled when an instructor is off.

CPSU/CSA branch secretary Toni Walkington said assessors at each centre conducted about 10 driving tests per day. She said there was no contingency plan for when driving instructors called in sick.

�Our members know the most efficient way to deal with the problem is to either employ driving assessor team leaders to co-ordinate and conduct the tests when people are sick or on annual leave or employ relief assessors,� Ms Walkington said.

�Even providing relief staff for just a couple of licensing centres would mean more people are not being let down.�

Leeming driving instructor Greg Clark spends hours trawling the Department of Transport�s online booking system trying to find test times for his students.

He said the apparently random release of blocks of test times made it difficult to book tests on a student�s preferred date.

�There are tests available but you can�t get tests whenever you want,� he said.

�For example right now I can book a test for November 26 but the tests for November 19 haven�t been released yet. I just have to keep checking and they�ll show up, but they�ll be snapped up in minutes.�

Mr Clark said he had arrived with a student for their driving test many times to find the instructor was not there and the test had been cancelled.

A DoT spokeswoman said there were also strategies in place to reduce customer inconvenience.

�Since December 2013, the number of available PDAs for all classes of vehicles has increased annually by approximately 11,000 due to the removal of mandatory age- based testing,� the spokeswoman said.

�In addition to this, approximately 2000 additional bookings have been made available annually due to the expansion of the heavy vehicle assessment partnership which continues to grow.

�DoT is in regular contact with the Public Sector Union and will continue to review its processes and strategies to ensure it effectively manages its existing resources.�