Mallon rules out Strabane driving test centre due to knock-on cost for customers

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has ruled out a driving test centre in Strabane saying the provision of one would increase fees for Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) customers.

She said learner drivers could access centres at Altnagelvin and Newbuildings or in Omagh.

The minister said the test centre network had been developed to strike a balance between accessibility and value for money and that building and staffing another centre would lead to higher fees.

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Sinn Féin candidate for West Tyrone in the forthcoming Assembly election, Maolíosa McHugh asked the minister if her department would consider opening a driving test centre in Strabane or offer the option of doing the practical driving test there.

Nichola Mallon

He complained that already Strabane ‘learner drivers have to pay double cost to do lessons in Omagh or Derry prior to their practical driving test’.

Ms. Mallon replied: “The cost of driving lessons are set by driving instructors or driving schools and my Department has no role in regulating these.

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“There are three practical driving test centres located within a 20 mile radius of Strabane at Altnagelvin and Newbuildings in Derry and at Omagh test centre.

“The DVA is required to recover all of its costs from the fees charged to customers.

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“The locations of the network of driver and vehicle test centres were developed to provide the best balance between accessibility and value for money for customers, and the provision of an additional driving test centre at Strabane would result in increased service costs and ultimately an increase in fees for all customers and at a time when they are already under huge financial strain.”