No crisis in MoT centres as waiting time targets are met
Your front page story about MoT waiting times (Belfast Telegraph, December 7) and your editorial (December 8) were misleading.
There is no MoT crisis. In fact, the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency is now routinely achieving its waiting time target of three weeks.
There are always a certain number of customers waiting for tests, and the 46,000 mentioned is roughly the number you would expect with an average wait of three weeks.
The number quoted in the article is not a 'backlog' at all, but simply the number of customers in the booking system.
Of course, waiting times have been a problem for the agency since a major programme of industrial action created a genuine backlog of tests in 2004, but I am pleased to say that, thanks to the efforts of our staff, that genuine backlog has now been cleared.
The current position is that anyone who needs an MoT test should be able to get one within a reasonable period, and in fact short-notice tests are almost always available to anyone who needs a test immediately.
There are certainly variations in waiting times between centres, due to the vagaries of supply and demand, and we are working to minimise the differences.
However, it should be remembered that motorists can go to any centre. The Newry centre was quoted as having particular difficulties with waiting times, for example, but there are three other test centres within a 30-mile radius of Newry that motorists can use, with average waiting times currently as low as two weeks.
The requirement for temporary exemption certificates, which are issued only where tests cannot be made available within four weeks, is reducing daily, and should shortly disappear altogether.
I realise that motorists want and deserve the best possible service from ourselves and we have worked hard to meet that expectation. But similarly, your readers deserve better than the selective interpretation of the figures quoted in the December 7 article.
Stanley Duncan Driver & Vehicle Testing Agency