The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has launched a survey this month to get the opinions of Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs) operators on how their test slot booking system works.

The survey, which began on 7th December and runs until 20th December, will quiz ATFs operators on how they fill surplus test slots and the best ways to market these to drivers. The survey will also ask operators the potential benefits of having access to a flexible online system or mobile app to sell available test slots to customers.

Peter Hearn, director of operations (North), DVSA, said: “DVSA’s priority is to help you to keep your vehicle safe to drive.

“We know that some operators are waiting too long for commercial vehicle test slots. Understanding operators’ booking processes will help us to put measures in place to improve waiting times.

“DVSA is committed to reducing waiting times and helping save operators’ time and money by improving the service we deliver.”

At present, almost all yearly vehicle tests are conducted at ATFs, so DVSA is keen to explore the possibilities to minimise waiting times at all ATFs operators.

There are several avenues DVSA is already exploring, including the recruitment of over 50 new staff, who carry out the tests at ATFs, from January 2018; the creation of vehicle tester apprenticeships to encourage a new generation of vehicle testers; redeployment of vehicle testers to areas where operators have issues securing test appointments, such as the south-east of England; and giving staff the choice to work longer hours or additional days.

DVSA has already sought to alter the test slot booking process from annually to quarterly in a bid to help the DVSA and the ATFs themselves better assess demand and allocate resources as necessary.