As the UK recovers from the pandemic, PassMeFast is keeping a close eye on the latest developments. In this post, we will keep you updated on PassMeFast’s response to the coronavirus, and answer some common questions you may have regarding the impact on our services.
Demand for driving lessons is still extremely high as a result of national lockdowns.
At PassMeFast, we focus on the completion date of your course, not just when you start. While the coronavirus backlog means that our course start times are slower than usual, the ace up our sleeve is our fast-track booking system and intensive courses.
You’ll still sit your test sooner with us, getting you to your destination of picking up your pink licence faster!
The current DVSA waiting times for practical tests are 6–7 months. We cut that in half. Our average course completion times for new bookings are 3–5 months, so you’ll be on the road quicker with us. PassMeFast is still your faster route to driving!
If you need to pass your theory test, we can book you in for the soonest date possible. This is typically a couple of weeks after we start work on your booking. We use our fast-track system to secure your test, so you can move swiftly on to the practical side of things.
Passed your theory and need a practical test? We’ll book your fast-tracked practical while waiting for an instructor to become available. Once we’ve secured a test, the rest of the course will fall into place and you’ll be a fully licensed driver before you know it! Depending on the length of your course, we estimate average course completion of 3–5 months.
Unfortunately, we’re not currently taking bookings for fast-tracked practical tests on their own, but we’re still fast-tracking theory and practical tests for students that book a course with us.
During practical tests
On the 19th July 2021, the DVSA made the following announcement –
“Following the government’s announcement setting out plans to move to step 4 of the roadmap in England on 19 July, we continue to expect pupils to wear a face-covering during their practical tests unless they have a good reason not to.
Good reasons are things like:
- having a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability
- wearing it would cause you severe distress
Please be aware that the testing of candidates who are unable to wear face coverings are conducted by volunteer examiners only, so not every test centre will be able to facilitate this testing.”
Please wear your face-covering for your practical test. If you are exempt from wearing a face-covering and haven’t let us know, please inform us urgently. We must let your test centre know when booking your appointment so they can make arrangements for you to take the test without a face-covering. The test will be covered by an examiner who has volunteered to take students without face-coverings, so there is no guarantee that they’ll be available for the test. If this is the case, your test may be postponed unless a mask can be worn.
During theory tests
The DVSA has stated that face-coverings are optional during theory tests. If you’d prefer to wear a mask, please feel free to do so. It’s also worth being aware that social distancing measures might not be in place at test centres.
The DVSA hasn’t made a statement on wearing masks during driving lessons, but many instructors are continuing to wear them. Your driving instructor may also ask you to wear a face-covering during your lessons together.
Once you’ve been assigned an instructor, please check whether they require you to wear a mask before your lessons begin. If you’re exempt, we’ll do our best to match you with an instructor who is comfortable with you not wearing a face-covering.
I have a booking with PassMeFast. Is it likely to continue as normal?
With driving lessons now available across Great Britain, we’re working to help all of our students to pass as quickly as possible. PassMeFast is prioritising safe working practices and complying with all advice from the DVSA and UK Government. There will be some disruption to courses as a result of backlogs from previous lockdowns. We apologise for the inconvenience and thank you for your continued patience.
I am currently taking a PassMeFast course, but have developed symptoms associated with COVID-19. What should I do?
If you have coronavirus symptoms, you must stay at home for a minimum of 7 days. Do not attend any lessons. Please inform PassMeFast as soon as possible, and we will inform your instructor. Your test will be resheduled for ASAP if you have any symptoms.
My instructor has developed symptoms associated with COVID-19. What steps should I take?
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19, you should self-isolate. Please inform PassMeFast as soon as possible, and we will put your course on hold.
What happens if I need to reschedule or cancel my driving test as a result of COVID-19?
There are currently no fees to reschedule or cancel your driving test, even at short notice, due to coronavirus. If you need to do so, please contact us as soon as possible.
My theory test is due to expire soon. Will the DVSA extend the expiry period in light of the pandemic?
Unfortunately, the DVSA have announced that they will not extend expiry dates. If your theory test expires, you will need to take it again.
I’m interested in learning to drive with PassMeFast. When could my course start?
We’re aiming to get all of our students on the road as quickly as possible, but are conscious of the delays created by months of lockdown. Though our wait times to begin your course may be longer than usual, we’re confident that we offer a quicker route to getting your licence thanks to our fast-tracking service. For details on when you could begin taking lessons in your area, please call us on 0333 123 4949.
Will the pandemic have an impact upon course times and test dates?
With students across the country having faced delays and cancellations, there is currently a large nationwide backlog for driving tests. PassMeFast is working to help secure the best possible dates for our students via our fast-tracking service. Though we envisage some short-term delays, we are working to help our students to pass fast.
What precautions are being taken to ensure that driving tests are safe?
Protective measures are in place at test centres and during practical tests to minimise the spread of the virus, and to keep both examiners and candidates safe.
Anyone taking a theory or practical test must wear a face covering. If you are taking a practical test and are unable to wear a face covering, you must declare this when you arrange your appointment.
Candidates will also be asked not to arrive more than 5 minutes before their specified appointment time. This minimises the number of people you could potentially come into contact with. Other safety measures being taken include:
- Ensuring that examiners wear clothing that provides as much covering as possible
- Requiring examiners to wash their hands before entering the public waiting area, wear gloves for the duration of the test, and avoid touching their face
- Banning examiners from shaking the candidate’s hand
- Preventing candidates from touching the examiner’s iPad, stylus, or any paperwork used
- Checking the candidate’s signature and driving licence without the examiner physically handling it
- Not allowing any accompanying driver or ADI to sit in on the test, or to listen to the debrief at the end
- Stopping tests from going ahead if a candidate is unwell, or terminating the test partway through if the candidate becomes unwell during the drive
- Building in extra time for each test to ensure that examiners are able to carry out all the additional precautions
- Putting in place specific measures for the disposal of any Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as gloves and wipes
Candidates must clean their car before the test, including tidying away any unnecessary items and wiping down the dashboard and car controls. During the test, at least one window on each side of the car must be open. The DVSA permits any combination of windows—e.g., one at the front and one at the back. It is therefore advisable to wear weather-appropriate clothing.
To minimise the amount of time spent in the car, tests will be curtailed in the event that a candidate fails the test partway through. Additionally, you will need to exit the vehicle at the end of your test to receive your feedback. The driving test itself will be carried out as normal, including general and independent driving sections, reversing manoeuvres, “show me, tell me” questions and an eyesight check.
I’ve already been vaccinated against COVID-19. Do I still need to wear a mask during lessons and tests?
Yes. In Scotland, it is the law that you must wear face coverings during lessons and upon arrival at test centres. In England and Wales, this is not a legal requirement, but you should still do so unless you are exempt.
Should I take a COVID-19 test before my driving test?
The government is advising candidates to do so wherever possible. In England and Scotland, rapid lateral flow tests are available to order on-demand; in Wales, a collection service is available. Useful links can be found below:
- Information for driving test candidates in England
- Information for driving test candidates in Wales
- Order a lateral flow test (England only)
- Order a lateral flow test (Scotland only)
- Collection information for lateral flow tests (Wales only)
Should I call the DVSA if I have any questions about driving tests or test centres?
The DVSA is likely to be experiencing a very high number of calls. Avoid calling them where possible. If you need to get in touch, contact them via Twitter.
Is private practice allowed?
Yes. Under the current rules, you may practise driving while supervised by a member of your household or support bubble. You may do so during both essential and non-essential journeys.
Can I still contact the PassMeFast office team?
Yes. You can continue to contact us by phone at 0333 123 4949 or by emailing your CX Adviser if you already have a course.