Driving test waiting times in Greater Manchester remains high after COVID-19

New data has shown that the driving test waiting time in Greater Manchester has reached a new high peak level of around five months.

A Freedom of Information request by Mancunian Matters to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) revealed that the average waiting time is 19.02 weeks from 31/03/2023 to 01/04/2024.

Compared to 2019, the waiting time in 2024 was 2.5 times higher, when the average waiting time was 7.86 weeks.

This means that learner drivers in Greater Manchester, eager to start their journey on the road, need to wait at least five months for a test. 

Among 10 driving test centres in Greater Manchester, the longest waiting time is 21.4 weeks in Bolton test centre between April 2023 to March 2023. 

The second longest time is 20.6 weeks in the Sales test centre between April 2023 to March 2023. 

Over the same period, the lowest waiting time is 17.4 weeks in the Rochdale test centre.

Attempts were made to contact driving test centres for comment.

When contacted for comment, a DVSA spokesperson said: “The DVSA deployed all eligible managers and administrative staff back on the front line to do driving tests from the beginning of October until the end of March 24, this created around 150,000 additional test slots. To further increase the number of available test slots, it is conducting tests outside of regular hours, including at weekends and on public holidays, and buying back annual leave from driving examiners.

“Whilst demand and waiting times remain high, the DVSA continues to ask local driving test managers and others eligible to conduct driving tests to provide additional test availability alongside resuming some of their normal duties. The DVSA are also seeking to deploy driving examiners from centres where waiting times have already reduced to more acceptable levels into centres where waiting times remain high.

“Since April 2021, measures put in place by the DVSA to reduce waiting times for its customers, together with the ongoing recruitment of driving examiners, is creating on average over 48,300 extra car test slots each month. 

“Car practical test waiting times remain high due to:

  • an increase in demand; and,
  • people’s concerns about not being able to book a test, which has led to a change in customers’ behaviour.”

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