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Multi-Purpose Test Centres

Volume 495: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many multi-purpose test centres were (a) planned to be open and (b) open at the time of the introduction of the new motorcycle practical test. (282909)

The Driving Standards Agency originally intended that a new single-event practical motorcycle test should be delivered from 66 multi-purpose test centres (MPTCs).

It was subsequently decided to split the new test into two modules with module 1 being the specific manoeuvres conducted off-road to ensure safety and module 2 the on-road riding test. This has allowed us to provide 88 per cent. of candidates access to one of the 66 centres offering module 1 testing within our target of 45 minutes or 20 miles, and 97 per cent. can reach one of the 105 centres offering the module 2 test at the same access standard.

When the new test was introduced on 27 April 2009, candidates were able to take their module 1 test at 66 facilities—44 MPTCs, six casual-hire sites, 16 part-time Vehicle Operator and Services Agency sites, and module 2 tests at 105 facilities—43 MPTCs, one casual-hire site; and 61 other suitable Driving Test Centres.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many (a) collisions and (b) collisions causing injuries occurred during motorcycle driving tests in the calendar year up to 28 April 2009; and if he will make a statement. (283301)

The Driving Standards Agency report information on collisions during motorcycle driving tests in the calendar year up to 28 April 2009 as follows:

Period: 29 April 2008 to 28 April 2009

Number

Collisions not involving injury

39

Collisions involving injury

42

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what percentage of the population lives within 20 miles or 45 minutes travel of a multi-purpose test centre. (282910)

The original plans for 66 centres would have enabled 83 per cent. of the population to reach a practical motorcycling testing facility within 45 minutes travelling or 20 miles.

Our decision to split the test into two modules enabled us to increase the number of service delivery points. When the new test was implemented on 27 April 2009, 88 per cent. could access a module 1 testing facility for the off-road element within the travel/distance criteria— 97 per cent. for module 2. The 5 per cent. difference between planned and actual coverage for the off-road element is accounted for by the actual, rather than the previously planned location of the new off road testing facilities.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many planning applications for multi-purpose test centres were refused by local planning committees. (282911)

In total nine planning applications were refused and three were made and withdrawn following discussions with the local planning authorities.

There were numerous other informal discussions with local planning authorities about possible sites where the case did not progress to formal planning application.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of (a) the cost to date of developing and constructing multi-purpose test centres and (b) the cost of completing the remaining centres. (282912)

The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has spent, up to the end of the 2008-09 financial year, a total of £51 million of capital funds (£49.29 million on new DSA permanent centres; £1.12 million on shared with Vehicle and Operator Services Agency sites and £600,000 on casual hire sites).

The forecast final capital spend is £71 million which is in line with the agreed programme business case and budget.