Press release

Ashford leads the way in trial to bring driving tests closer to candidates

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Driving tests in Ashford are being evaluated as part of a national trial that aims to provide a more local service for candidates.

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As well as using conventional driving test centres, the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) wants to explore how it can also use other venues to deliver tests, such as local authority buildings, leisure centres or hotels.

The former driving test centre in Ashford closed earlier this year when DSA’s occupancy agreement came to an end, but since then DSA has been delivering practical driving tests from the Holiday Inn on Canterbury Road. In the coming weeks testing will move to Ashford Borough Council’s Civic Centre on Tannery Lane.

Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:

I want us to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live.

Our aim is to provide a more local service that is both convenient for candidates and cost effective.

DSA is now planning similar trials in 6 other locations across England, Scotland and Wales that do not currently have a local test centre but still have a significant demand for tests. The aim is to provide a service for the local community and ensure that candidates can take their test at a convenient location.

The trials will be monitored to assess any impact on levels of customer service and the cost of delivery, as well as making sure the integrity of the test is maintained.

DSA will then decide whether the trials can be rolled out to other areas without a local test centre where there is a significant demand, as well as suitable test routes and venues.

The trials will only involve practical car tests; theory test centres will not be affected.

Published 27 June 2011