Letters: Govt breaching its duty to Bedford’s driving instructors

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Dear Sir,

I am wishing to raise with you an issue surrounding the Bedford Driving Test centre, currently based at Manton Heights, Brickhill. The driving test centre moved here earlier this year.

Obviously, because of Covid, access to waiting rooms has been restricted at all test centres but since they reopened, Bedford people attending the test centre have to stand outside with no shelter. This includes government registered approved driving instructors as well as the general public taking their family members or friends to test.

The Bedford test centre has NO waiting room that could have been opened for us. During the summer months (many days of which were wet) this wasn’t too much of a problem but as we are now moving into cold, bitter icy weather, this very much is a problem.

Full-time instructors could be attending the test centre twice a week, maybe more, and expected to stand outside (I repeat with NO shelter) for up to 45 minutes a time. This is no longer an acceptable situation that requires urgent attention.

There is also no official car park. Only one marked ‘permit holders only’ suggests that we are at risk of being fined at every visit. To my knowledge, no one has been, but the threat is very clear. There is rarely space along the roadside to avoid this issue.

Furthermore, there are NO official toilets for candidates or accompanying people to use. We currently use the vaccination centre toilet block but we are asked to use a nearby supermarket. Such a place is not within walking distance in the time allowed, especially when under new covid rules, driving test can last only five minutes in the event of an early fail.

Also, it is my understanding that there is still NO telephone number for candidates to call the test centre in the event of inclement weather to check that the test is going ahead. This is despite it being a request on the booking form to do that. The only option is to turn up in what may be dangerous conditions to find out. As we move into the winter months, this is not workable.

The government has a duty of care to its customers and it is being breached here on many levels.

As driving instructors, we need urgent support on this.

Many thanks,
Lesley Hattersley and Bedford Driving Instructors
Bedford

Letters published reflect the views of the author, not Bedford Independent. If you would like to write a letter to respond to any issues raised, please email letters@bedfordindependent.co.uk

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