Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has been urged to take decisive action after figures revealed that there are 4,881 learner drivers waiting for a test in County Galway.
The RSA confirmed to Sinn Féin that over 92,000 people across the state are waiting for their driving test, and the party has called on the Minister to tackle the backlog.
East Galway Sinn Féin’s Louis O’Hara says that a number of people have contacted him who have been waiting several months for a test date in the local testing centres.
“Throughout 2020 we called on Minister Shane Ross and the new Minister Eamon Ryan TD, to address the worsening crisis. Neither took the problem seriously and the situation has now greatly worsened,” said Mr O’Hara.
“In fact, the number of people waiting for a test has increased by 70% since June of this year.
“With public transport down to 25% capacity and sharing of lifts not feasible due to Covid, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work.”
Louis O’Hara says that it is a huge issue for people in rural Ireland, where ‘public transport simply isn’t an option’.
“There is a clear need for additional driving instructors and testers. Likewise, longer opening hours and weekend tests would go some way to address the lengthening backlog.
“The Minister needs to urgently consult with instructors, testers and their unions to find a way forward to accelerate the number of tests that can be carried out safely over the coming months.
“In addition, the driver theory test is still suspended, causing further delays for those learning to drive.”
The Sinn Féin representative says that his party has also called for online driver theory tests to be extended to all categories of learner drivers, to help deal with the growing backlog of those learning to drive.
“The Driver Theory Test Service are currently providing remote theory tests for bus, truck, CPC and ADI categories. This is a welcome development, but it is essential this is now expanded to those learning to drive a car.”