Driving test waiting times driving you mad?

Some driving test centres across the UK are experiencing extremely long waiting times of 18 weeks + for driving test slot availability. This is the sort of problem that when learning to drive, you just don’t need… am I right? Read on for some practical advice from BIG TOM Driving School (0800 689 4174 ) that specialises in Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham and Sleaford.

Are you aware that you are not tied into the driving test slots that you initially get offered by the DVSA on their booking system? Once you have passed your theory test, you are then able to book your practical test, either on-line or on the telephone service. Once you have reserved one of the slots that are being offered you get a booking reference number. You can then go back in to the system, enter that number, and search for cancellation slots. I am doing this several times a day for my BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course customers. Many people, and you can hardly blame them, don’t want the hassle associated with booking the tests, so they ask me to do it for them. I am effectively ‘jumping the queue’ on behalf of my much valued customers. As a result, I have become very familiar with the test booking system, and have got in-depth knowledge of how it is running for my customers on a daily basis.

Recently, the DVSA have publicly apologized for the sometimes extreme driving test waiting times. The reasons they give relate to Examiners retiring, more people taking driving lessons as the economic recovery continues, and more over 20’s taking driving tests. As I look on the system today, the first driving test slot available in Peterborough is 21/12/15 – 11 weeks away, and the next driving test slot available at Grantham is 13/1/16 – 15 weeks away. [UPDATE: As of 21/6/16 the waiting time is 10 weeks for Peterborough and 4 weeks for Grantham]. As bad as this might appear, there are much worse delays elsewhere in the UK. Indeed, if you monitor my Twitter feed, you would have noticed that this current situation is a complete reversal from just a few weeks ago. Back then, Peterborough had no availability on the system at all, nothing listed post 2015 whatsoever, and yet Grantham was still providing driving test slots with regular frequency, as traditionally, has always been the case. Things change fast in the regard of driving test slots, which is why, for my BIG TOM Intensive Driving Course customers, I am offering them a good service by continually getting the very latest dates that are available.

I spoke to the Test Centre Manager at Grantham, Dave Wedgewood, only last week to get his latest information regarding driving test slot availability at Grantham. He gave some very clear feedback to me which I was grateful for, making mention of a recent surge in driving tests at Melton Mowbray which was causing Examiners to assist over there, a long term sickness of an Examiner and a promotion of an Examiner that then re-located away from Grantham. I see this morning, that the GOV.UK website is advertising for driving examiners in the Civil Service section in no less than 95 driving test centres across the UK! Of which, Grantham is amongst that long list.   The closing date for these vacancies is 16/10/15 – it would appear that the DVSA are in somewhat of a “crisis” situation with regards to Driving Examiner resources.

I attended the ADINJC Driving Instructor annual conference 3 days ago in Birmingham, where 2 representatives attended from the DVSA: Lesley Young DVSA Chief Driving Examiner and Mark Magee DVSA Registrar. My question that I had previously submitted relating to this subject of driving test slots was raised at the conference, and afterwards, when I spoke with Mark Magee, he kindly agreed to look further into the subject when I email him some more details – which I will be doing very shortly.

It is without doubt a very “hot topic” that is affecting thousands of people learning to drive at this very moment. I hope BIG TOM customers can see from this blog, that I am working tirelessly in the background, to ensure that I provide the very best service that I possibly am able to, to ensure that my customers get the best driving test slot times that are available out there at the moment, for my Intensive Driving Courses in Peterborough, Grantham and Sleaford.


BIG TOM Driving School   Bookings: 0800 689 4174