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Testing times ahead

10th July 2008, Page 3
10th July 2008
Page 3
Page 3, 10th July 2008 — Testing times ahead
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

It wasn't broke, so it ain't gonna be fixed — at Least not by handing it over to the private sector. Leaving aside the matter of our appalling grammar, that pretty much encapsulates the latest announcement from Jim Fitzpatrick, Department for Transport (DfT) minister, on the subject of HGV test station privatisation.

To the delight of the unions and the annoyance of those franchised truck dealers eager to boost their workshop throughput), Fitzpatrick has confirmed that annual truck and trailer testing will remain firmly in the public sector— under Vosa

So it's good news for those who want a publicly run test scheme. And bad news for those who think the private sector could do it better. And CM? Like we said, we didn't think it was broke, or at least not enough to justify the massive upheaval involved in switching to a privatised system. That's not to say everything in the testing garden is rosy. We know it, you know it, Vosa knows it and, clearly, the DfT knows it. Which may explain why last week the minister also announced a flurry of investment, including £28m for modernising Vosa's testing facilities and IT systems, plus a further 036m to bolster its -investment requirements'. {whatever that means]. Either way, we'll be happy if t ends the farce of headlamp aim failures.., and cuts the time to book a test.

Unfortunately, it isn't going to result in a cut in fees. In fact, test fees go up by an average of 5% next week. To see the charges, go to http:// and enter 'Lorry and Trailer Annual Test Fees' in the search field, then tell us what you think. Meanwhile, we welcome the fact Fitzpatrick wants more Vosa tests at operators' premises, and at more convenient times, and (with a nod to the privateers) at service and maintenance provider's' premises. But what

Fitzpatrick really wants is testing service fit for the 21st century". Don't we all minister? And all Vosa has to do is deliver it. Brian Weathertey


Organisations: Department for Transport

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