As the coronavirus pandemic progresses, PassMeFast is keeping a close eye on the latest developments. This includes adapting to any new advice provided by the government. In this post, we will outline PassMeFast’s response to the coronavirus, and answer some common questions you may have regarding the impact on our services.
Customers with ongoing bookings
In line with government advice, PassMeFast began restarting driving courses from Saturday, 4th July. We will be contacting students individually to inform them when they will be able to start taking lessons with us.
PassMeFast will be adopting a more flexible approach to rescheduling courses for the duration of the pandemic, and will not charge any fees if you cancel or change your test due to coronavirus.
Theory testing in England resumed on Saturday, 4th July, with the exception of any areas under a local lockdown. We are therefore able to book a new theory test for any customer who requires one. Please note that anyone attending a theory test will be required to wear a face mask, and will otherwise be denied permission to sit the test. Limited exceptions exist for those who may find the wearing of a mask difficult, such as those with respiratory conditions.
Practical driving tests in England are set to resume on Wednesday, 22nd July. In order to effectively manage the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, the DVSA has announced that they will be taking a phased approach, including the following steps:
- All driving test bookings have been placed ‘on hold’ by the DVSA. This is to ensure that all candidates can take their test at a convenient time and to keep the system as fair as possible.
- Existing bookings will not go ahead as scheduled. New appointments will need to be booked for all tests. This includes any tests due to take place on or after 22nd July.
- Candidates with existing bookings will be given priority for any available appointments before the DVSA’s test booking service opens to the wider public.
We apologise for any inconvenience you may experience as a result of these changes. We will begin booking new tests as soon as possible, and will be in contact with students individually once we have secured you a suitable appointment.
If you began taking lessons before lockdown restrictions came into force, your instructor will be in touch with you to discuss resuming your course. Please note that not all driving instructors will be returning to teaching immediately, and we expect some disruption to courses to continue as we adapt to the new environment. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.
We urge all customers with an outstanding course balance to pay this in full as soon as possible. Doing so will ensure that your course runs smoothly, including allocating you a suitable local instructor, booking any required tests, and allowing lessons to go ahead on schedule.
Emergency testing will still go ahead for those working in key sectors of the economy, with appointments unaffected by the recent announcement from the DVSA. If you believe that you are eligible for an emergency test, and have not yet informed us of this, please contact your Booking Agent as soon as possible. Please note that the DVSA is prioritising emergency test applications from those working in the NHS and social care sectors.
For urgent queries, please contact your Booking Agent via email, or by calling 0333 123 4949. Please note that most members of staff are currently working remotely. We apologise for any disruption to our normal service that this may cause.
Please note that, given the current circumstances, our wait times for courses and tests may be longer than usual. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, and would like to reassure you that we will be working hard to fast-track tests for all of our students.
Customers with ongoing bookings
I have a booking with PassMeFast. Is it likely to continue as normal?
Driving lessons are able to go ahead for all customers from Saturday, 4th July. As we return to teaching students, PassMeFast is prioritising safe working practices and complying with all advice from the DVSA and UK Government. There may therefore be some disruption to courses in the short term.
The DVSA has placed all practical test bookings on hold. As a result, if you already had a practical test booked, this appointment will no longer be valid, and will be rearranged. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes, and endeavour to secure suitable tests for all students as soon as possible. Please note that this does not include emergency tests for key workers.
I am a key worker. Can I still take my test?
Emergency tests are ongoing for those working in critical sectors of the economy. If you have an emergency test booking, this will go ahead as planned.
If you have not yet applied for an emergency test, but believe you are eligible to do so, please get in contact with us. We may require additional information from you, which we will use to complete your emergency test application.
Please note that, at present, NHS and social care staff are being prioritised for test bookings. Tests will only be allocated to other key workers once NHS and social care staff have all been given appointments.
If you do apply for an emergency test, you must be willing to take it at short notice. Tests will take place at a location close to you, but you will not be able to choose the date or time.
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 emergency test will be cancelled 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’ve been classed as extremely vulnerable from COVID-19. Can I still take a theory or practical test?
Shielding for vulnerable groups is set to be paused from 1st August. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should take your test after this date.
I’m interested in learning to drive with PassMeFast. When could my course start?
PassMeFast will begin operating lessons for the general public from Saturday, 4th July onwards. However, given high demand at present, our course wait times may be longer than usual. For details on when you could begin taking lessons in your area, please call us on 0333 123 4949.
I’m interested in learning to drive, and believe I qualify for emergency tests. Can I book with PassMeFast?
Yes. Ring in on 0333 123 4949 to discuss your options with a member of the team. Please note that we cannot guarantee specific dates for tests.
Will the pandemic have an impact upon course times and test dates?
As we adapt to all new regulations, we can expect extended course wait times for most customers. We are looking to fast-track theory and practical tests wherever possible, but cannot rule out this process taking longer than usual. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, and endeavour to help you pass as quickly as possible.
What precautions are being taken to ensure that driving tests are safe?
The DVSA have brought in protective measures to minimise the spread of the virus, and to protect both examiners and candidates. 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 are also 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 fully covers their arms and legs
- 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
- Keeping vehicles well ventilated, including by asking the candidate to open their window
- 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
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 live in an area that’s under local lockdown. Can I still take my course?
Theory and practical tests are suspended in any area under local lockdown. If this applies to your area, you won’t be able to take your course until these restrictions are lifted.
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.
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 Booking Agent if you already have a course.