Health check: Covid fallout still causing long delays for driving tests

It isn’t just Bill Plant that has raised prices. A report published in July by Marmalade (an insurance company that specialises in providing cover for learner drivers) found that 40% of the 4000 instructors it surveyed had hiked prices since 2020, adding that instructors have seen a 227% increase in enquiries, with an average of 8.24 extra enquiries per week. As a result, the firm said 30% of instructors are turning away between five to 10 enquiries per week.

According to Tucker, an average of 30% of instructors were fully booked pre-Covid: “We were able to accommodate new learner drivers in 90% of areas within England, Scotland, and Wales within a week or two, so long as we had an available instructor to allocate them to.” Now, 80% are running at capacity and “in the smaller areas outside of the big cities, we’ve seen month-long waiting lists due to having fewer instructors, such has been the demand placed on the driving school.”

MacIntosh said: “We have opened up the diaries of driving instructors further into the future to give greater availability and accommodate new customers, and we recommend new learners plan ahead to secure theirinstructor and a driving test.”

Tucker does hold out hope that the situation may eventually resolve itself. “We are truly doing everything we can to get new instructors through and ensure existing clients pass first time, to help learners that are looking to get on the road as soon as possible,” he said. “With a substantial rise in our instructor numbers already, we’ll continue to ensure we do everything we can and make best efforts to help as many people find their freedom and independence.” 

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