Petition to oppose the closure of South Shields Driving Test Centre
Dear Student/Parent/Guardian of students in Years 10-14
We have been asked to send this information on behalf of South Tyneside’s driving instructors, South Tyneside Council and Kate Osborne MP.
The DVSA are considering the closure of South Shields Driving Test Centre. Should this go ahead, future tests will be conducted from Sunderland Driving Test Centre.
As a student (or parent/guardian) of school leaving age this proposal concerns you directly. It will prove to be a disadvantage to all school leavers financially, practically, and environmentally.
South Tyneside Driving Instructors, along with Kate Osborne M.P., Councillor Tracey Dixon – Leader of South Tyneside Council and other figures concerned with protecting the facilities, have formed a pressure group to oppose the proposed closure and a meeting with DVSA will take place in the New Year.
A petition to oppose the closure and voice your concerns has been raised to the DVSA. It can be found at:- https://www.change.org/savesouthshieldstestcentre
Your support in signing this petition will be instrumental in the campaign.
Below is a summary of information on the potential impact of any proposed closure:-
- South Shields Driving Test Centre has potential capacity for 4,581 tests per annum
Current test waiting times are approx. 25 weeks due to Covid Backlog
- DVSA recommend 45hrs tuition with a qualified instructor, plus 20hrs private practice to attain test standard – based on these figures, an estimated 206,145 hrs of lessons are available to South Tyneside pupils
Current Instructor waiting lists are approx. 12 weeks due to Covid Backlog
PRACTICAL IMPACT ON LEARNERS
- Most lessons will be conducted in and around Sunderland test routes instead of South Shields (it is widely understood that being unfamiliar with test routes accounts for a sizeable proportion of test failures)
- Lesson Prices will increase due to extra commute mileage i.e., fuel and vehicle depreciation cost to Instructors
- Lesson duration will increase due to extra commute times, therefore Instructor waiting lists will increase
- Pupils will no longer be taught how to safely negotiate South Tyneside black spots, leading to an impact on local road safety
- South Shields Instructors are more likely to take on Sunderland pupils instead of South Shields pupils, in an effort to cut down on commute times back and forth to test routes, up to 8 times daily. Instructor waiting lists are likely to exceed the current 12 weeks
- Longer Lessons will be necessary to commute to test area – this raises accessibility concerns for some candidates who may have conditions that mean the can only tolerate 1hour lessons and may be forced into never learning to drive. Also, some candidates who have anxiety disorders may also be affected by being forced to leave the local area.
FINANCIAL IMPACT ON LEARNERS:-
- TOTAL EXTRA COST IMPACT: £360
Based on £2 per hour price increase plus extra 10hrs commute
IMPACT TO SOUTH TYNESIDE
- Financial loss to Instructors and Learners £2,042,654
- Grams of extra CO2 Carbon Emissions 971,520,156
* Per Annum Figures based on DVSA figures of 45hrs tuition with an instructor at average £25 per hr, plus 20hrs private practice