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Help us improve the trainer booking process

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Learning to ride, Motorcycle trainers, Vocational trainers

motorcycle and coach

Last year, we ran two workshops in Nottingham and Cardington to see what changes we could make to improve the motorcycle and vocational trainer booking service.

We wanted to increase the availability of tests, by reducing the number of tests that are booked and then handed back at short notice.

To do this, we need to know what you think of our proposed changes to improve the test slot booking process.

Reducing waiting times for bike and vocational tests

When we ran the workshops, the national average waiting time was 6 to 7 weeks for bike tests and around 5 weeks for vocational tests. Our aim is to keep waiting times below 6 weeks for bikes and below 3 weeks for vocational tests.

We wanted to reduce waiting times before we started working on your ideas from the workshops.

So, since the workshops, we’ve recruited and trained more than 40 examiners for both motorcycle and vocational tests.

Currently, motorcycle mod 1 and 2 waiting times are around 4 to 5 weeks and vocational test waiting times are currently at 1.5 weeks.

I know there are still some areas around the country where we need to improve test availability and we’ll continue to recruit and train more staff where they are needed. However, it’s a huge improvement over last year’s waiting times.

What’s next?

The main issue is still the high percentage of tests that are handed back at short notice – currently, 25% are handed back when it's too late for us to reschedule, and offer the test slot to someone else.

Give us your views - a short survey

To help reduce this number we want to look further into your ideas on how we can change test slot booking. Below is a link to a quick 5 minute survey, that'll ask for your opinions on:

  • what time it would suit you best to open booking slots
  • if we should change the booking window
  • if we should change the cancellation period of rider and vocational tests to 10 days
  • how you’d like to receive communications from us

Your feedback is really important to us and will help us provide you with a better, improved service. Once we’ve analysed the results of the survey we’ll let you know which changes we’ll be taking forward and when the changes will take place.

Take the survey, and give us your views on test slot booking.

It closes on Friday 19 January 2018.

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  1. Comment by Trevor Wilbourn posted on

    There was no box to leave comments on the survey about the percentage of tests cancelled before taking action. The issue is why are the tests cancelled not how many. No school wants to cancel any tests and they certainly don't want to be punished like naughty children if they do. We carry out around 250 tests per year. Obviously we buy most of these in advance as there is simply no other way of having tests guaranteed for customers. This means that at any one time there is around £6000 of our money in DVSA's bank. The only way we can maintain the advanced test bookings is to buy them every month. DVSA gives us a trainer booking allowance each week based on supposedly our usage. We are doing 10-15 tests per week most weeks through out summer, yet getting an allowance of one or two tests at times, so not based on our usage. In the winter we often get an allowance of 1 again supposedly based on our usage. This cant be true in both cases. So by the time we get to spring which is our busiest time of the year, we get an allowance based on what we needed in January. We don't book as many test in winter because we know we will not be so busy. To then cancel any of those means we are not working which means we are not earning, so it is the last thing we want to do. So really we either need a system with more flexibility or tests will always end up being cancelled in Dec/Jan/Feb. I think DVSA should be able to deal with those cancellations in the short term because in reality if one school is not working, nor are the others. This does not mean that we should not book any in advance because we can't take the risk of work coming in and not having a test. There is little enough as it is.

    • Replies to Trevor Wilbourn>

      Comment by Olivia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Trevor,

      Thanks for your comments. Short notice trainer booking cancellations currently run at around 25 % or more of tests booked. This results in fewer tests for trainers to be able to book and makes deploying examiners less efficient.

      The trainer booking allocation is based on the previous month's tests booked by a trainer at each test centre if there aren't enough test slots you can request additional slots. If we can't meet the initial demand on opening day the overall number of tests is shared out amongst all trainers that use that centre. It is a complicated system and we'd be happy to look into your case - please let us know if you'd like us to contact you to see what can be done to improve the service we provide.


  2. Comment by Pete posted on

    Most established ATBs will have an average amount of tests that they need each week. It would help if they were ghosted back so that on the opening week the school book can confirm the booking. This ghosting could include specific times. Any remaining tests could be up for grabs after the ATB confirmation booking window (2 hours, next day?) has expired. Specific times would help ATBs that have to travel a significant distance to the test centre. In our case we travel 48 miles to an MPTC for module 1 tests. At the moment we have to try a book a suitable time but invariably end up with very early starts in poor weather conditions. Not ideal for inexperienced riders.

  3. Comment by paul posted on

    A very simple and cost effective system should be that if you buy the tests there are no refunds.

    This will stop the mad scramble to buy up all the tests on opening day. Companies will have to work ou,t realistically, what they need.

    I am shocked at the 25% cancellations. We purchse over 12 tests a week on average sometimes up to 20. We have never, in 15 years sold more than 10% back and never sold back more than 3 times a year! Any sell backs have been due to weather or changing test centres after my local one opened up test slots.

    The system of naming them should by put at 5 working days or they are taken back with no refund by the DVSA. If you do happen to come along the odd person who wants training and testing to start 10 minutes after they first phone you there should be test slots available under this system.

    There will less admin needed to find tests overall, the DVSA wont need to spend time and money on refunds. Any tests not named and the bought by other users, is a benefit to the DVSA and ultimately a benefit to all us tax payers, making the examiners more productive and never doing nothing at a loss.

    Time and staff would be saved on not monitoring a system that obviously does not work, the only consideration over time would be, do I have the correct number of examiners needed to fulfill the actual demand, rather than the fictional demand that is produced by nonsense system of opening day buying.

    That practice would not exist in a free market business system so get rid of it.

  4. Comment by Gary Ashton posted on

    Like Trevor, we have to book tests on spec to ensure availability for candidates and no one can make commitments for 10 weeks time for which the tests are allocated. Unfortunately, people do fail mod 1 tests which means there may be a mod 2 test which the school may not then be able to reallocate. Certainly in our case we deal with a sizable number of military personnel who for reasons beyond their control have to cancel, often at very short notice. Again, like Trevor, feel it unjust that we should be penalized for cancellations that are beyond our control. We can't afford to commit money to tests that we know we will be cancelling. When we trainer book it is good faith that the test slots will be filled.