MP hits out at sluggish test centre progress

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Learner motorcyclists living in rural areas on the west coast of Scotland could face a 200-mile round trip to sit their motorcycle test from September 29, because construction of new multi-purpose test centres is behind schedule, says Alan Reid, MP for Argyll & Bute.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Reid lambasted the slow progress in constructing the test facilities, and criticised the Government for failing to live up to its promise to make sites available within 20 miles of a learner rider’s home.

“At present, the test can be carried out on the isle of Tiree. However, in future, someone from there will have to make a three-day round trip, with two nights away from home, to sit the test,” he said.

To make matters worse, plans to open a new test site in Oban appear to have been shelved in favour of opening a centre in Fort William, Reid says. “What the Driving Standards Agency terms the ‘Oban site’ may end up in Fort William, 44 miles from Oban and over 130 miles from Campbeltown, which is at the other end of my constituency.”

Helen Goodman, deputy leader of the House of Commons, responded to Reid’s comments by stating. “In rural areas and in western Scotland, access will not be as close as it is for those in large cities.”

Reid says the Government should rethink its strategy for the test centres, and has pledged to continue to fight the plans.

Michael Carroll

By Michael Carroll