CONCERNS have been raised over the locations in which some people’s driver theory test appointments are being scheduled, with some people in Cork being offered appointments at centres as far away as Roscommon and Athlone.
By train it would take between five and six hours to travel to Roscommon from Cork city, or more than three hours by car.
However, as these people are sitting their theory tests, none of them can drive and must rely on public transport or lifts to test centres.
Aoife Kavanagh from Midleton told The Echo that her 17-year-old daughter has been waiting to do her diver theory test for some time.
They initially booked her theory test in May and they were given a date in Cork in October, however, that was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“They rebooked her for June then in Cork but we chose to see could we get one sooner and that was in Kilkenny which has now been cancelled twice. As it stands we have an appointment in July in Kilkenny,” Ms Kavanagh said, adding that they are in the position to travel a distance to a centre for her daughter to take the test.
Another woman, Louise O’Connor from Kinsale, told The Echo that she made her first booking in July 2020 for January but she then found earlier dates, she rescheduled.
The appointment was cancelled due to lockdown, and Ms O’Connor was given a new date of April 27, which was subsequently pushed out to May 8.
“That has now been cancelled and July 16 is my new date in Clonmel. I don’t drive. No one in my family does and the time was for 12 o'clock so no buses would [be on] time for me to arrive into Clonmel until 12.30 so I had to reschedule for Cork,” she explained.
August 14 is the earliest date she can sit her theory test in Cork, as the date must also suit her job.
“I think it’s very unfair how they can’t do it online like the truck drivers."
Cork East Labour TD Seán Sherlock is awaiting answers from the Department of Transport on the issue.
He has been dealing with a number of people who have been given appointments miles away from where they live.
“One individual from North Cork was offered Waterford for a test appointment and then Athlone. It’s just ridiculous.
“60% of the working population have just moved their working lives online.
“It should be able to be done in a driver theory testing sphere as well. And that's why we've been pushing back on the Road Safety Authority and on the Minister to start moving on this and start dealing with this as a matter of urgency because it has a massive impact on people's lives.”
A spokesperson for the RSA said: "Almost 110,000 customers are scheduled for tests in the coming months. The reopening of the Driver Theory Test centres was not part of the recent relaxation of level 5 restrictions. Therefore, those who had been scheduled for this week had to be rescheduled. Where there was not an available slot in their preferred test centre they were rescheduled to another centre rather than cancelling their application. Customers were given a link in the notification provided to them to allow them the opportunity to reschedule to their preferred test centre once an appointment slot became available."