It’s hard to believe but you will soon be able to book your Practical driving test on the high street! Halford’s the well known motoring and bicycle retailer will soon be adding ‘Test Centre’ to their list of products and Services! The Government announced this surprising move earlier in the week.
Seelected branches will have their own Government approved Test Centres, the first known branch to have the change will be at Halford’s Wellingborough store. The Centre will open on February 5 before similar changes are made to other branches of Halford’s. But in case you were wondering, yes the examiners will all be DSA (Driving Standards Agency) approved members of staff.
Halford’s Director of Communications, David Sawday, told Sky News the idea of the store offering this service is a positive one and would offer learner drivers a “non-threatening environment to meet your examiner and start your test”. Halford’s is a busy store with a great atmosphere that will instantly put any nervous driver at ease! Unlike an almost silent test centre.
“…Many people in the U.K can find a Halford’s within 20 minutes of them. So the stores are an extremely accessible location,” he said.
Halfords are looking into having these test centres in as many of their branches as possible. This is quite a bold move for the retailer and will obviously take time to get going. Other sites that are currently being considered for the promotion include Glasgow, Altrincham, Market Harborough and Hemel Hempstead.
The Driving Standards Agency are looking at all it’s options when it comes to improving the experience for learner drivers. Fire stations and universities are also being investigated as possible host driving test centres.
The way things are at present you could be waiting anything from a week to almost three months to take your driving test once booked. This depends on where you are in the country and the demand for practical driving tests. But a longer wait can in some cases lessen the chance of a successful pass. So this change will enable more tests to be taken in the busier areas, there will not be the annoying wait tests could be taken in a matter of days!
‘The Halfords deal’, has been in the pipeline for sometime but has been keep closely guarded by those working on it. The plans were finalized last summer by the Minister for Road Safety Stephen Hammond.
He has said about this move by the motoring retailer: “We are very pleased to be working with Halfords to provide a more local service for candidates…This is a great example of how we can work with the private sector to bring an essential local service that is convenient as well as cost effective.”
Halfords’ itself is also very pleased about the changes too. Halford’s commercial director Paul McClenaghan said: “Halfords is already a very local destination for so many motorists, who think of Halfords for their automotive products and services. We are always looking to expand on our services and enhance our offers, so working with the DSA is a natural development on the business. It only serves to extend our services to motorists.”