Driving tests could soon no longer start at dedicated centres but at supermarkets instead as a drive to help reduce costs.
Currently, when a learner driver has a test they start and end from a dedicated Driver and Vehicle Standards Authority (DVSA) testing centre, with the majority of large towns and cities having one, if not several.
However, the DVSA’s chief executive Gareth Llewelyn has said that they’re considering a ‘meet-and-greet-system’ to help lower costs, as the majority of test centres are said to be on leaseholds, and are incurring cost increases each year.
Llewelyn told MPs in the Commons Transport Select Committee: “There’s only so far you can take the business model when costs are increasing but incomes are actually decreasing in real terms.
“One of the areas that we have considered is whether we move on a pilot basis to a meet-and-greet system.”
The chief executive said that candidates could be able to meet their examiner at a range of locations, adding both convenience and also lowering costs by not having to have a dedicated test centre. Both supermarkets and leisure centres were suggested as ideas, though Llewelyn said that “careful management” would be needed.
He added: “Is it better to meet people in an area where there’s a bigger car park, where it’s more convenient, at a time that is better for them, rather than asking them to try and park somewhere close to a test centre that might not have a car park?”
Currently a car driving theory test costs £23, with the main driving test setting a learner back £62, or £75 if it takes place on a weekend, evening or bank holiday. The price for a driving test hasn’t increased for 10 years.
Learner drivers have faced much uncertainty throughout 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic has stopped tests taking place on various occasions. Currently driving tests are on hold in England until after Wednesday December 2, while they’re only happening in lower risk areas of Scotland. Following the earlier ‘firebreaker’ lockdown, driving tests are taking place across Wales.