DRIVING instructors in Wiltshire are hoping an extra examiner will be posted in the area to combat long waiting times as the Driving & Vehicle Standards Agency prepares to review the way it tests learners.

Instructors Steve Dayman-Johns and Gary Fossey, who teach in the Westbury and Calne areas, are angry that learners being tested in Trowbridge and Westbury have been – they say – waiting twice as long for a test as those in Chippenham or Salisbury.

Now that the DVSA’s director of operations for the south, Richard Hennessey, has commissioned a review of testing in the area ahead of driving test changes in December, Mr Dayman-Johns and Mr Fossey hope it will lead to an extra examiner to help cut waiting times.

Trowbridge and Westbury do not have permanent driving test centres but instead ‘Taking Testing to the Customer’ facilities. According to a DVSA spokesperson, as of this Monday, August 7, the waiting time for a test in either town was 15 weeks. For Chippenham the wait was 14 weeks, while at Salisbury or Kingswood, in Bristol, the wait was just four days.

Mr Hennessey acknowledged that “many of our customers are waiting too long to take a driving test” and added: “the review will look at customer demand from in and around the area, the route suitability and what capacity we have in the surrounding centres.”

Mr Dayman-Johns said: “The only thing that will tackle the problem in West Wiltshire is an extra examiner. There are only two here at the moment so adding one more should reduce waiting times by a third. That could be done at no extra cost by using an examiner from Salisbury or Chippenham, where the wait is already shorter.”

Between April 2016 and March 2017, 2,690 driving tests were taken in Trowbridge and Westbury, with 1,396 – 52 per cent – of them being passed. In Chippenham, the next closest testing centre, there were 5,745 tests in the same period.

Mr Fossey said in a letter to the DVSA that he was ‘delighted’ that a review was being done and that he looked forward to “achieving improved driving test provision resulting in acceptable waiting times within the Trowbridge, Westbury and Frome areas.”

Mr Hennessey added: “Since April 2016 we have recruited 396 driving examiners and we are currently recruiting again. We know that we have specific challenges in Trowbridge and Westbury and will be carrying out a detailed review which will look into the service we provide for customers.”