A Dublin city councillor has called for a public driver theory testing service to be established to help clear a backlog of 45,000 applicants who are awaiting theory tests since the lockdown.
Workers Party Councillor Éilis Ryan said the national driver theory test service, provided by private operator Prometric, is incapable of providing sufficient testing capacity to meet demand, with no driver theory tests available in Dublin until next year.
“Currently, there are no driver theory tests available within an hour’s drive of Dublin between now and January 2021,” she said.
“Outside of Dublin, there are sporadic test dates available in some remote testing centres, with most other urban areas facing similar backlogs.
“This means that individuals are facing 4-6 month delays in even starting the process of learning to drive.
“Clearly, we are in unprecedented times and Covid-19 has meant dramatically reduced testing capacity.
“But it is obvious that many public services have adapted far more quickly and far better than this.
“Prometric had six full months to acquire additional premises, expand testing capacity, and plan for both social distancing and the backlog of applicants waiting to do their test after lockdown.
“This scale of backlog indicates none of this planning took place at all.”
“I am calling on the Minister for Transport to make provision, via a publicly-provided service within his department, for expanded testing capacity to clear this backlog.
“This should be used as a first step towards phasing out the privatisation of the driver theory testing service, to be replaced by a far more efficient public service.”