Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
21. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans and the plans of the RSA to address the backlog in respect of driving test applications; if his attention has been drawn to significant delays in securing tests and retests. [59695/21]
The Government continues to be guided by public health advice on the safe provision of services and, in conjunction with the RSA, continues to keep the situation under review to ensure that every possible measure is being put in place so that the maximum number of customers can be served, while adhering to public health requirements.
Since October 2020, the driver testing service has been prioritising essential workers. Since May 2021, the RSA has been returning to delivering tests for all customers, while continuing to prioritise critical frontline workers. This means, in the interest of fairness, the RSA targeted test appointments to those waiting longest who are ready and eligible to take the test.
When the service resumed in June 2020, testers were conducting five tests each per day, as against eight before the pandemic. This subsequently increased to six tests and since 27 September 2021, has further increased to seven tests per tester per day.
In order to deal with the backlog created by Covid, the RSA received approval to rehire 36 temporary testers in 2020. In addition, the RSA received sanction to hire 40 additional testers on a temporary basis to assist with the backlogs. These new testers completed their training and have been conducting tests since July 2021. Sanction has also been granted to recruit a further 40 testers.
The 36 temporary testers rehired in 2020 are on contracts which are due to expire in December, March, and May. My Department has approved a further extension of contracts for those due to expire in December and March. The RSA will conduct a review in Quarter 1 next year to see how the service is performing and to reassess its needs in light of evolving demand.