Cork East Fine Gael TD, David Stanton raised his concerns about long NCT waiting times to in Dail Eireann this week. Deputy Stanton pressed Minister for Transport, Paschal Donohoe TD to take action to reduce the backlog at NCT test centres in East Cork and across the country.
“Having checked extensively online on the NCT website I discovered that there is on average about a three month waiting time for NCTs through the online booking system. While the NCT website does advise people to ring if they cannot get a test time within the necessary timeframe before their certificate expires I feel that this is not good enough. I believe that it would be reasonable for a person to expect to be able to receive a test within a month or 6 weeks of applying.
“When I debated the delays with the Minister for Transport he advised that having checked with the Road Safety Authority (RSA), who are responsible for the operation of the NCT system, they are happy that the 47 NCT test centres are catering for demand. He further advised that NCT system met all performance standards in regard to waiting times in 2013 and has done to date in 2014. He said that from the figures he received average waiting times for the 2nd quarter of this year were 12.1 for full tests and 3.3 days for retests, respectively and in quarter 3 they were 10.9 and 2.88 days.
“From the research I conducted through the online booking system at random test centres across the country, I discovered that the majority of online bookings can be catered for within a three month period. However, when I checked availability at the local test centres here the waiting times for online bookings at Little Island and Youghal were four months and three and a half months respectively. The Minister disputes the fact that there is a large backlog of customers waiting three months or more for a test and stated that he is informed that this is not the case nationally. I have challenged him to go online and check personally.
“While I accept that if a person phones the NCT number that they can be accommodated within 28 days, I feel that this is not good enough. I know that there has been a recent increase in demand due to upcoming changes in legislation, whereby the failure to have a valid NCT certificate will change from a “straight to court” offence to a fixed charge offence attracting a €60 fine and three penalty points, but I believe that additional resources could be allocated to NCT centre to help cater for this increased demand.
“I will continue to press the Minister on this however, in the meantime I would encourage all motorists whose NCT certificates are due to expire to book a test as soon as possible.