Plans to offer practical driving tests from fire stations were given the go ahead today (13 March) by Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond.
This comes after announcements last year that the DSA were planning to work with Halfords outlets and various universities to provide convenient space for Driving Tests to take place. It’s a great example of the DSA pulling out all the stops and thinking laterally when to overcome a problem, when it wants to.
It is of course a further slap in the face for the motorcycle industry who have witnessed nothing but stalling tactics from the Agency when it comes to making motorcycle rider testing facilities available.
Driving tests will be available from the Salford fire station in Greater Manchester every Tuesday and Thursday from 16 April. A number of other fire stations in the Manchester area could also offer tests in the future.
All tests will be conducted by Driving Standards Agency (DSA) examiners.
The move is part of an initiative to offer a more local service for driving test candidates. As well as using conventional test centres, DSA is working with public and private sector partners to provide driving tests in areas that don’t have a local test centre.
Stephen Hammond said: “By working alongside Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) the Driving Standards Agency is ensuring people taking their driving test have access to a more convenient option. This partnership is a great example of how the public sector can work together to reduce costs and provide a better service.”
Having taken over the reins of the Ministerial Review into the bike test, MAG hopes that Mr Hammond will be as keen to improve availability for motorcyclists as he is car drivers and will ensure a swift and satisfactory outcome of the Review. Originally tabled to be a 6 month review, it is now approaching it’s third year!
The government recently consulted on proposals to improve the way all motoring services are delivered.
The Motoring Services Strategy consultation outlined long term proposals to put customers firmly at the heart of the way motoring services are delivered, so that they best serve the consumer while getting the best possible deal for the taxpayer.
The government’s response to the consultation is due to be published in the summer and it will be interesting to see whether they care as much about those consumers who would choose a bike over a car.