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 has now resumed in England, Scotland and Wales. We are therefore able to book a new theory test for any customer who requires one. Please note that anyone attending a theory test should wear a face mask, and that doing so is mandatory in Scotland. Limited exceptions exist for those who may find the wearing of a mask difficult, such as those with respiratory conditions.
Please note that local lockdowns may result in the postponement or cancellation of some tests. We will contact you personally if this affects your booking.
Practical driving tests have now resumed in England, Scotland and Wales. It is now possible to book tests within the next eighteen weeks, and the queue system has now been removed. Additionally, due to stringent safety measures having been adopted, the number of tests taking place at a test centre in one day has been raised from 5 to 6. All bookings are subject to candidates having a valid theory test pass certificate and the correct driving licence for their test of choice.
Due to problems with the reopening of the test booking system, combined with a large backlog, candidates may experience delays. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you, and would like to thank you for your patience. We 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.
It is no longer possible for those working in key sectors of the economy to apply for an emergency test. However, if you have already submitted an application, and the DVSA deems you to be eligible, you will still be able to take your test. We will contact you when we have booked your test.
For urgent queries, please contact your Booking Agent via email, or by calling 0333 123 4949. Most members of staff have now returned to our office, though some are still 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 have resumed for non-key workers. 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.
Driving tests have now restarted. However, due to high demand, an existing backlog, and serious disruption affecting the test booking system, test waiting times may be longer than usual. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes, and endeavour to secure suitable tests for all students as soon as possible. We will contact you personally when we have an appointment for you.
What is the current status of emergency tests for key workers?
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. However, it is no longer possible to apply for a new emergency test.
When you receive an emergency test appointment, 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’m interested in learning to drive with PassMeFast. When could my course start?
PassMeFast is in the process of restarting its courses. However, given high demand at present, our 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.
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.
There have been major problems with the DVSA test booking system recently. Can PassMeFast help me to book a test?
Yes. When you book with us, we’ll do the hard work for you! You can either add a practical test onto any PassMeFast course, or book the test only. Please note that, if you choose to book a practical test only, we will not provide a car or instructor. You must arrange these services yourself.
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 may be affected by local lockdown rules. The DVSA will contact candidates in these areas to clarify the impact on testing.
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.