Britain’s learner drivers are currently facing significant problems.
After months of lockdown when lessons and tests were suspended learners have struggled to secure lessons or an appointment for their driving test.
Driving schools reported record numbers of enquiries for lessons as they resumed tuition, leaving many hopeful learners on long waiting lists struggling to arrange lessons.
Learners have also faced significant problems trying to book their driving test since theory and practical driving tests resumed. Hundreds of thousands of hopeful candidates have been vying for appointments on the DVSA’s problem-struck booking system.
Issues around tests should ease somewhat next week when the DVSA releases almost 400,000 new test appointments but learners are still faced with getting to the stage of sitting the test as well as getting through it.
To help identify where learners have the best chance of securing lessons and a test slot, driving instructor group Local Driving School has looked at government data to determine the fastest and slowest parts of the country for gaining a licence.
The group looked at learner to instructor ratios, pass rates and test cancellation rates to determine where learners could most quickly gain their licence.
Taunton in Somerset proved to be the best, with a student/tutor ratio of 133 to 1 and a 55.4 per cent pass rate. The UK average is 203.3 learners per instructor and a 48.85 pass rate. Taunton also saw significantly more cancellations (32.4 per month) meaning learners were more likely to be able to secure a last-minute test slot.
Nearby Poole was second in the list, with a 159.3 to 1 student/tutor ratio and a pass rate of 54.9 per cent. Its cancellation rate was even higher, at 67.3 per month. The UK average is 19.4. Ipswich, Preston and Norwich are also prime spots for learners looking to make quick progress with student/tutor ratios between 146:1 and 155:1 and pass rates in excess of 50 per cent.
The 20 test centres with the shortest waiting times
London dominated the areas with the longest waiting times, with test centres around the capital taking the five bottom spots and nine of the 20 worst rankings. Scotland, which has some of the quietest test centres, also fared poorly, with seven towns in the 20 slowest areas.
Learners in Tottenham face the longest wait of anyone in Britain, with 539 learners for every one instructor, a pass rate of just 40.7 per cent and only six cancellations a month. Barking and Greenford have even worse pass rates (38 and 39 per cent respectively) but fare slightly better for instructor numbers with 393.9 learners per instructor in Barking and 267.6 to one in Greenford.
The 20 test centres with the longest waiting times
Discounting London, Speke in Liverpool is the trickiest test centre in terms of pupil/tutor ratios and pass rates, followed by Glasgow’s Anniesland, Dumfries, Hamilton and Chadderton.
Claire Davies, marketing manager at Local Driving School said: “With lessons only recently restarting and test centres just opening, demand is at an all time high, and so learners are queuing to learn to drive. With the information provided, we hope students can look further afield from their nearest test centre to reduce their waiting times.
“Checking your neighbouring areas using the given statistics will indicate predicted waiting times, and in places such as Manchester and London, a nearby area/centre may save you weeks of wait time overall.”
The 20 test centres with the longest waiting times (outside London)