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Nearly 80 driving tests booked, DVSA clarifies after criticism from MP

THE DRIVER and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has denied that driving tests are not being made available in Shetland – saying nearly 80 tests are scheduled in Lerwick over the next couple of months, and claiming more slots will be opened up soon.

The figures were released following criticism by Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael, who said the agency “needed to get its act together” on island tests.

“When I met with the DVSA last week I had assurances from them that islanders would be able to get tests in October in Kirkwall and Lerwick,” he said.

“I am deeply disappointed that they are not following through on those assurances. People have been waiting for tests for months. It is simply not good enough.”

But the DVSA said in response that driving tests are indeed scheduled at Lerwick from October until the end of the year, with more tests available to be booked soon.

The DVSA said that 54 car tests, 12 lorry tests and 10 motorcycle tests have been booked in Lerwick between October and November this year.

Due to the location of the island sites and demand levels, driving examiners are required to travel in advance and take up overnight accommodation in order to fulfil a test schedule.

As a result, test schedules are arranged as and when the DVSA receives bookings from candidates.

This means specific test dates and times are not displayed in advance via the driving test booking service and candidates are placed on a waiting list.

At present the option for tests at remote test centres to be booked online and placed on hold has been removed. Candidates and instructors will now only be able to book available by contacting the DVSA’s customer service centre 0300 200 1122.

The agency added that while it continues working to return the driving test booking system to full capacity following lockdown, it may give some visitors the appearance that there will be no tests scheduled in Lerwick.

“Candidates looking to book a test at these sites [Lerwick and Kirkwall] should contact our customer service centre to complete their booking and get on the test waiting list,” a DVSA spokesman said.

“They will be contacted with a test date when appointments become available.”