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ATF Operators Association slams new DVSA test times

  • 10 July 2014
  • By Robin Meczes

The ATF Operators Association (ATFOA) has accused the DVSA of “making up the rules as they go along” , after the agency confirmed changes to annual vehicle test times the association fears will have a dramatic impact on authorised testing facilities’ (ATF) revenues.

In its latest ATF Bulletin, published on 24 June, the DVSA confirmed changes from 1 July to the test guide times for a number of CVs, including a five-minute extension to the allocation for 3-axle trailers from 25 to 30 minutes, and cuts of up to 20 minutes in the tests for public service vehicles (PSVs). No changes are being brought in for other trailers or trucks.

The DVSA said the decision was based on the findings of “a thorough, independently verified re-timing exercise” , adding: “Nearly 80% of tests are now carried out at ATFs and, with the cessation of testing at DVSA sites continuing, we needed to be sure the average test guide times remained fair and reasonable.”

However, ATFOA president Stephen Smith – who is also MD of ATF operator Boleyn Recovery and Fleet Services – said the change would reduce the number of trailer tests completed in the 420-minute working day DVSA testing staff give ATFs and could wipe Ј20,000-Ј30,000 off an ATF’s annual income, depending on how many trailers they tested.

“It’s just reducing our output,” said Smith. “The rules appear to be just made up by the DVSA as they go along without consulting their partners.”

The changes could also force ATFs to cancel some bookings based on the previous time allocations, he pointed out.
“It could be awkward,” said Smith. “We’re taking bookings nine months or a year in advance, so this problem will probably carry on to June or July next year.”

Smith, who says the new test times were first revealed just a few weeks ago in the latest round of ATF forums, wrote to the DVSA on 6 June asking for an urgent meeting, but has received no response to date.

A DVSA spokesman said: “DVSA provides average test times as a guide to help ATFs schedule their testing, so it is important these are as accurate as possible.

“The agency conducted a thorough study to review average test times and the results have been independently verified.”

  • This story first appeared in Commercial Motor’s 3 July issue. Why not subscribe?


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