Driving instructors in Perth have hit out at the national testing agency, claiming students regularly have to endure a three-month waiting list to book exams.
Instructors blame staff shortages at Perth Driving Test Centre and have called on the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to resolve the problem which has been occurring at peak times for years.
Several fed-up driving teachers contacted Pete Wishart MP and The Courier this week to complain about the waiting times which had reached 11 weeks by 8am on Tuesday.
Shortly after The Courier and Mr Wishart made contact with the DVSA around 30 exam dates were made available for booking for July and August, better than halving the waiting list.
Jim Fernie, who has been an instructor for more than 30 years, said it should not take instructors contacting their MP and the media for exam dates to be added.
Mr Fernie said: “Last year the same problem happened and I complained and the next month there were dates.
“Now, they’ve brought it down from 11 weeks to five but it will happen again. In another month it will be back to 11 weeks. They don’t care about Perth.
“We’ve have been told that Perth needs 1.5 full-time examiners so put them on and get the exams we need.
“There’s no problem with the examiner we have, we just don’t have enough. They’re short staffed.”
The DVSA argue they have three full-time examiners employed at the Perth test centre but several instructors claim that only one of these examiners tests cars and that they can be called off to other areas.
Fellow driving instructor Alan Jamison said the problem had happened “many times” over the 13 years he has been in the job.
The instructor also pointed out the length of time between test dates was costing his students money.
He said: “They don’t seem to manage their system to see that their waiting lists are getting incredibly long.
“It is impacting my students’ finances as they are failing on something that is easy to fix but then they need to wait three months.
“Every summer it’s like this and every summer it gets worse and worse. It’s very frustrating for instructors and for pupils.”
Pete Wishart MP has written to the chief executive of the DVSA to see what can be done to improve the waiting time for learner drivers in Perth.
Mr Wishart said: “I was concerned to hear that learner drivers regularly face a waiting time of three months to book their test.
“This is unfair for learners but also for the instructors as it will be quite difficult to judge exactly when a student is ready to sit their test.”
A DVSA spokesperson said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone through a lifetime of safe driving.
“To help reduce waiting times at Perth, we’re increasing out of hours testing and deploying additional examiner resource in normal testing hours.”