[size=150]Ministers urged to stop bike test rip-off[/size]
MAG today called on the Department for Transport to prevent 40,000 new riders from being ripped-off by unjustified increases to test fees.
In February of this year, Parliament agreed a 33% increase in the cost of a bike test to cover the costs of a new, longer test from 29 September 2008. Despite not implementing the test as planned, the cost of a motorcycle rider test has increased from £60 to £80.
Parliament was specifically told that half of the test fee increase relates directly to the introduction of a longer, more demanding test. The regulation itself carries an explanatory note which is equally clear that the purpose behind raising the fees relates to special manoeuvres required to be undertaken off-road on a special testing ground.
With just two weeks to go and most of the required number of new test grounds not yet built, DSA finally admitted it had been forced to delay the new test. In a letter to the nation’s rider training schools on 12 September DSA said that test booking arrangements would continue as before. Some trainers have been shocked to find that they have booked the old style test in good faith but are now facing bills based on the delayed new test at a much higher cost.
MAG has urgently contacted the government asking them to take swift action to prevent a wide-spread rip-off. More than 40,000 new riders can be expected to apply for a test over the next six-months, taking the existing test but paying for the longer test.
Nich Brown, MAG General Secretary said “the government must act honourably in this, the test fees must be reduced and refunds made immediately. The new test itself has been delayed, it is neither justified nor in the spirit in which the legislation was laid before Parliament for the test fees to be increased.”
MAG members who own or work for rider training schools have warned of financial hardship suffered through the way the changes have been implemented hitherto. They fear the disruption they have suffered preparing for the now-delayed test and the increased cost of tests will damage the businesses they rely on.
“DSA have confirmed the cost of the new test centres are being built with cash from the sale of high-street test-centres backed by DfT loans and DSA reserves. The substantial increase in test fees at this time simply adds insult to injury.”
At various location around the country MAG members are lobbying the DSA to retain testing facilities in areas where there would be an excessive distance to travel.
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Fergus O’Connell (Clubs Officer)