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Anger as driving test booking page shut down hours after going live

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Pupils hoping to book a driving test after months of being unable to during the coronavirus lockdown have been left frustrated after the service was suddenly taken down this weekend.

The driving test booking service reopened on Friday 21 August for all after being closed since 20 March due to the health pandemic.

By 8pm on Friday, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) test booking page had been visited almost seven million times as people hoped to book a test over the next six weeks.

And following the ‘unprecedented demand’, DVSA took the service down to ‘carry out essential maintenance’.

A message states the service will be available to use from 8am Wednesday 26 August.

Angry pupils hoping to book their test have taken to social media to express their frustration after getting caught in the technical issues once it had gone live, and after learning it would be temporarily paused:

One Twitter user posted: “Absolute sham! Announcing the release then being unable to cope. Pretty obvious what was going to happen after practical tests had been closed for months.”

Another wrote: “So you wait to say this at the end of the day? Bit cowardly don’t you think? I’ve attempted to call 185 times (not even kidding) but it doesn’t even add me to a queue, just cuts me off. Even got a date, went to pay and was kicked off due to “half an hour of inactivity”.”

Another posted: “Incompetent system, and no help for people who are at risk for Covid. He [poster’s brother] could get sick on public transport and literally die. Thanks for nothing DVSA.”

The DVSA apologised for the ‘inconvenience caused’ to those hoping to book. Services that will be unavailable until Wednesday morning include:

  • Booking a driving test
  • Changing a driving test appointment
  • Checking driving test appointment details
  • Cancelling a driving test.

Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “Coronavirus has severely impacted our business as usual operations, including by stopping driving tests in March. Since then DVSA have only been dealing with applications for emergency driving tests for critical workers.

“Following unprecedented demand for the driving test booking system with almost seven million attempts to book a test when it opened, we need to carry out urgent maintenance so people can book tests.

“We have to close the booking service until Wednesday 26 August and are sorry for any inconvenience caused.”