One of the most frustrating things about driving tests in the United Kingdom is the wait times to take them. The amount of time that you must wait will depend on the population density of the location in which you live. For example, if you live in the heart of London, then you’re obviously going to have a lot of other people setting up appointments at test centers to take their driving tests. This means that your waiting time will be longer than it would if you lived in a rural area of Scotland, for example.
Your wait times could range anywhere from a couple of days to over 3 months. Since a driving permit in Great Britain only gives you 12 months of time on the road, then you don’t have much time to waste with your driving education and appointment setting. It is recommended that you set your appointment within 6 weeks from the date that you want to take the exam. This is your best chance of getting the time slot that you want to have.
Another big reason for the waiting times being so long is that there are not enough examiners available at test centers. With many thousands of people across Great Britain waiting to take their driving tests, there is only a small fraction of examiners to accommodate all these people. One test center may have 1,000 time slots get filled up in just one month. That is how busy they can get.
A challenge that testing centers often have is recruiting the right number of examiners for their location. As populations continue to rise and fall in various locations through Great Britain, testing centers are not always adequately staffed to support all the new driver applicants. This has forced wait times to increase as the testing centers struggle to hire more examiners for their particular area.
You will notice that most driving test centers are not open on weekends or during the evening on weekdays. Instead, they try to maintain traditional business hours of 9 to 5 on Monday through Friday. But due to the increase in driver applicants, some test centers are starting to stay open on weekends and in the evenings just to process more of them. Examiners, of course, must volunteer to work extra hours at these particular centers.
Canceled tests will often increase waiting times as well. You’d be surprised how many people make appointments and then end up canceling because their schedule changed. Either that or they’ll show up to the appointment and forget to bring the appropriate paperwork that they’re supposed to have with them. Sometimes the applicant may bring a vehicle that is inadequate as well, since the driving tests are done in the driver’s own vehicle. In any of these situations, the test gets canceled and the time slot ends up getting wasted unless learners drivers take the slots of the cancellations, similar to here.
These British testing centers are regularly working on new ways to reduce waiting times. Aside from having extended hours, many centers are training and recruiting hundreds of new examiners to accommodate their demand. But as the population of new drivers increases, waiting times may be something that will never decrease for anyone.