Thursday, 19 January 2023
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
National Car Test
56. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will provide an update as of January 2023 on the measures being taken to reduce the waiting times at NCT test centres nationwide; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2361/23]
The operation of the National Car Testing Service is the statutory responsibility of the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred the Deputy's query to the Authority for direct reply. I would ask the Deputy to contact my office if a response has not been received within ten days.
However, I am aware of the challenges that the RSA and the NCTS are currently facing to meet high demand for tests and the delays which vehicle owners are encountering. My officials are continuing weekly meetings with the Authority to monitor ongoing progress in reducing test delays and ensure all possible actions are being taken to bring the waitlist to an acceptable level in 2023, as well as supporting all appropriate requests from the RSA for assistance.
Strong progress is being made in addressing the long-term staffing issues behind this backlog. Over 60 inspectors were recruited locally in 2022 and a further 50 vehicle inspectors started the last week of 2022, bringing the total number of vehicle inspectors to 595 at the end of 2022. Further recruitment is ongoing in 2023, with 7 more currently in training and an additional 15 recruits waiting to be trained.
A number of other measures to provide additional capacity at test centres are also in place, including increased staff overtime, the temporary transfer of 20 testers from the NCTS contractor’s Spanish operation for a period of 3 months (8 of whom who will continue for a further 12 months) and the forthcoming pilot for additional inspection personnel to assist vehicle inspectors with automated elements of the test. Testers are being assigned to the test centres with the most significant delays.
In the interim, I am advised that customers seeking test appointments may contact the NCTS directly, by calling 01-4135992, or may avail of the priority waiting list function via the NCT website, www.ncts.ie. In the majority of cases, these vehicle owners are provided with an appointment within 30 days.