However the process is running slower than expected, as the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) initially predicted 3,000 centres would be “live” by the end of April.
The agency has a target to equip all 19,500 UK MoT test centres with the new equipment required by the end of 2005. But despite assurances that the process will be trouble-free, the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) fears ongoing support difficulties severe enough to warrant delaying the rollout again. After three separate postponements, it is already three years overdue.
“Many MoT stations are finding problems in the system that are very difficult to overcome,” says Ian Davis-Knight, head of MoT Technical Operations for the RMI. “It is becoming clear that more work may be needed to be done before we are ready for a full rollout.”
The RMI has also highlighted problems with the technical support services, which it feels will further hamper the smooth running of the system. Davis Knight says: “Access to technical support is severely limited.”
VOSA would not be drawn on exactly how many people are staffing the call centres which make up the technical support line. A spokesman says: “We have estimated call volumes and are confident we have resourced these call centres accordingly.”