The closure of the Driver Theory Test Service from March-June 2020, as well as the significantly reduced level of capacity necessary on reopening, followed by further closures during subsequent level 5 restrictions, is inevitably increasing service backlogs.
The Road Safety Authority has advised my office that it is engaging with its service provider to maximise capacity to offer tests while adhering to occupational and public health requirements for when servicers are resumed. In this regard, they would, for example, be opening on additional days at some centres and extended hours also provided to allow additional capacity for appointments.
On the question of how rebookings will be handled, the Deputy should be aware that the operation of the tests is handled by the RSA and it is for them to devise the most effective way of handling these issues.
My Department had previously requested that the Road Safety Authority, as the body legally responsible for the driver theory test, examine whether theory tests can be taken on line remotely and what is required to do so.
I am pleased to inform you that the Driver Theory Test service has recently launched a pilot phase of a new initiative, which offers a Remote Testing service for specific categories of Theory Test (C, D, CD, BMT, TMT, ADI, CPCB, CPCT).
During the pilot phase Remote Testing will be available on a limited basis and extra capacity will be added as it is rolled out to allow more customers to sit their bus, truck, CPC or ADI Theory Test online.
Following a review of the pilot phase, I understand the RSA expect the initiative to be extended for car and motorcycles.
The RSA are keen to progress and extend the service to all categories of Driver Theory Test, however scaling up operations to facilitate higher numbers will take time to achieve.