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Five-month waiting time for NCT in Galway City


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Five-month waiting time for NCT in Galway City Five-month waiting time for NCT in Galway City

From the Galway City Tribune – The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has insisted the average waiting time for an NCT test in Galway is below the national average – even though local motorists have complained they cannot get a booking until August.

In a parliamentary reply to Galway West TD Noel Grealish, the RSA said that last week, the average wait time at the Galway NCT centre was 21 days – below the national average.

But motorists trying to book appointments have complained that the earliest date available was five months away.

“The figures are not reliable in my opinion. They say that the wait time for Galway is 21 days, shorter than the national average, but if you try to make a booking online, the next available slot in Galway is August 28. It’s the same for NCT centres in County Galway. The next available slots are months away,” one motorist told the Galway City Tribune.

According to the figures supplied to Deputy Grealish, the wait times in Ballinasloe and Clifden are 20 days, and it is 18 days in Tuam.

But online, the earliest slots available for Ballinasloe, Tuam and Clifden are September 22, August 22 and July 25 respectively.

The Irish Times reported earlier this year that thousands of motorists may be entitled to free tests because of the failure of the National Car Testing Service (NCTS) to provide appointments within 28 days.

This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. A one-year digital subscription costs just €89.00. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

Brendan Walsh, Chief Operations Officer at NCTS, told Deputy Grealish that the past year had been “especially challenging” due to the impact of Covid-19 “which caused significant staff absenteeism levels at test centres and in the call centre”.

“The first half of the year is always the busiest period for the NCTS as the NCT is due on the anniversary of the vehicle’s registration date and most registrations occur at the start of the year. With the delay in the availability of new cars, there are more older cars in the fleet, resulting in circa 1.5m cars to be tested at NCT in 2023. These multiple factors have caused a build-up of demand and have constrained capacity, as NCTS has been unable to carry out as many tests as planned,” Mr Walsh said.

He said that the average wait time nationally was 25 days, and Galway was below this.

“If a customer requires an appointment sooner than those available online, the system has the ability to allow customers place themselves on the priority list online. Customers may also be put on the priority list through the NCTS call centre, if a suitable slot is not available. Regrettably there is a longer delay than would have been in the past but the vast majority of customers on the priority list will get an appointment in four weeks.

“The available appointments that customers see online only represent approximately one third of the actual appointments available for that time. NCTS will open the remaining two thirds of appointments three weeks ahead when they finalise their schedules and have confirmed staff availability that week,” he said.

Mr Walsh added that Insurance Ireland confirmed its members will be “pragmatic and understanding”, and will “continue to be provided where customers, through no fault of their own, are unable to obtain their NCT due to backlogs at test centres”.

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