The letter 'Privatise failing test centres' (Write Back, November 21) was misleading in many respects. I would like to clarify.
The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) has a target waiting time for vehicle tests of 21 days. Waiting times are measured weekly and presented as an average figure for each test centre, as well as a year-to-date average across all test centres. The calculation is based on the time from the date the first application is made until the actual appointment date. At November 17, the average waiting time stood at 18 days for the week beginning November 11, with the year-to-date average also 18 days.
However, we recognise that variations in these figures can occur due to a number of factors. Not least is the fluctuation in demand for vehicle tests.
The situation is continually under review and action taken to alleviate pressures at particular centres where possible. I note the writer's call for privatisation, but would defend the Northern Ireland system in terms of quality, independence and cost to the customer.
DVA continually aims to improve the service to customers.
We advise customers to apply at least four weeks in advance for their test, and in most cases this should ensure an appointment before the expiry date.
Where an appointment is not available at the closest centre, there are normally dates available at other local centres if the customer is prepared to travel.
In addition, earlier appointments can become available at any time due to cancellations, and customers are advised to telephone our booking service on 0845 2472471 or visit our website at www.dvani.gov.uk to avail of these appointments.
Brendan Magee, Chief Executive, DVA