I would like to raise with you an issue regarding the Bedford Driving Test Center, currently based in Manton Heights, Brickhill. The driving test center moved here earlier this year.
Obviously, due to Covid, access to waiting rooms has been restricted in all testing centers, but since their reopening, people from Bedford who frequent the testing center have to remain outside without shelter. This includes government registered licensed driving instructors as well as the general public testing family members or friends.
The Bedford test center has NO waiting rooms that could have been opened for us. During the summer months (many days of which were wet) this was not too much of a problem, but as we are now entering cold and frigid weather it is definitely a problem.
Full-time instructors could attend the testing center twice a week, maybe more, and would have to stay outside (repeat homeless) for up to 45 minutes at a time. This is no longer an acceptable situation that requires urgent attention.
There is also no official parking. A single “license holder only” statement suggests that we risk a fine for each visit. To my knowledge, no one has been, but the threat is very clear. There is rarely space along the road to avoid this problem.
In addition, there are NO official toilets for candidates or accompanying persons. We are currently using the sanitary block of the vaccination center but we are asked to use a nearby supermarket. Such a place is not accessible on foot within the allotted time, especially since under the new covid rules, the driving test can only last five minutes in the event of an anticipated failure.
Also, my understanding is that there is still NO phone number for candidates to call the test center in bad weather to verify that the test is going well. This despite the fact that it is a request on the booking form to do so. The only option is to show up in conditions that may be dangerous to find out. As we move into the winter months, this is not achievable.
The government owes a duty of care to its clients and it is being violated here on many levels.
As driving school instructors, we urgently need support on this matter.
Thank you very much,
Driving instructors Lesley Hattersley and Bedford
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