Chaos at the DVSA: Test Booking System Queues Leave Learners Furious

When the DVSA announced the reopening of the driving test booking service late last week, learners around the UK rejoiced. Finally, this was their chance to get on the road after many long months in lockdown. As is so often the case, however, the expectation fell far short of the reality, leaving learners incensed. With two botched attempts at reopening the system now behind us, we take a look at what went wrong for the DVSA in the last week.

Dashed hopes

It was just a few short days ago that we reported on the reopening of the test booking system. It’s no wonder plenty of learners were excited by this news: the general public hadn’t been able to book driving tests since March, so plenty had been waiting months for this moment.

Unfortunately, the DVSA had apparently failed to foresee the huge increase in demand for driving tests. So, when the booking system reopened on Friday morning, learners experienced a site that was slow at best, and completely inaccessible for many.

And while some were lucky enough to get through the system (eventually)…

…others had a much more frustrating experience.

Astonishingly, it seemed that there had been no changes at all to the normal booking system, with the DVSA simply relaunching and hoping for the best. This left plenty of people wondering how they’d got it so wrong with ample time to prepare.

With little choice, the DVSA made the decision to close the booking service once again, promising to reopen it at 8am on August 26th. Some on Twitter had suggestions…

…and by this week, it seemed the DVSA had finally taken that advice on board.

Endless queues

Implementing a queuing system was always going to cause at least some consternation, with the prospect of some candidates being locked out.

However, competition became even fiercer when the DVSA announced that they would only be releasing the next six weeks’ worth of tests. This was done to ensure that the DVSA could “react quickly to any changes in government guidance about coronavirus”. In addition, the number of tests taking place during that period was set to be far lower than normal, accounting for less examiner availability, COVID-19 safety restrictions, and ongoing key worker tests.

All in all, this left just 35,675 tests available over a six week period. This would already have likely been too low a figure for normal times, but now, it was simply far too small to meet the pent-up demand. Numbers in the queue soon soared, with over a quarter of a million waiting at certain points:

For those learners who did, by some miracle, manage to get into the booking system itself, the situation was often dire. Many were left with screens like this:

Appointments were snapped up so quickly that the DVSA ended up releasing a breakdown of which test centres had availability left. The vast majority were listed as having either “very limited availability”, with less than 5% of tests remaining, or none at all. This led to plenty of moments like this:

And, worse still, many who simply never got to the end of the queue.

And while a lucky few did make it past the finish line…

…it’s fair to say that this was a day that left most hopeful drivers feeling angry, confused and even more impatient to get on the road.

A better way?

If you don’t like the idea of spending your time glued to a miles-long virtual queue, then PassMeFast could offer you a solution. That’s because, when you book a practical test with us, we’ll do the hard work for you!

Whether you want to include a test as part of one of our courses, or just want a practical only, we can help you get it sorted. To start, give us a call on 0333 123 4949, or book online.

By Andy Boardman

Andy has been part of the PassMeFast Blog team from the very beginning. He'll provide you with plenty of useful motoring advice, helping you to get the most out of every trip. When he's not writing here, you're most likely to find Andy on the way to his next destination.


  1. Reply

    Jill Smith

    I tried to book and was 328778 in queue… no chance. And the sites not open again until Tuesday 2nd Sept

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Jill,

      Sorry you’ve had such a frustrating experience. Hope you have better luck trying again!


  2. Reply

    Deborah Towie

    Fortunately I was able to pass my test just before lockdown but I totally understand why people are furious at the DVSA after 6 months im still waiting on my Driving Licence and can’t get through to anyone I understand that they would maybe have a backlog but 6 months comon

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Deborah,

      Sorry to hear you’ve had such a long wait! If you’re struggling to get through, it might be worth contacting the DVLA on Twitter. Hope it gets sorted soon!


  3. Reply


    What about us who got our tests cancelled due to the Corona virus ?

    1. Reply

      Andy Boardman

      Hi Pam,

      The DVSA should already have contacted you by email if your test was cancelled due to coronavirus and given you a link to rebook. If this hasn’t happened, then I’d suggest getting in contact with them ASAP.

      Hope this helps!


  4. Reply

    Amanda McWilliams

    I was trying from 8am up until it decided to close. When I finally reached the end of the queue to book. The site says choose a date. So I choose a date at random then pick a test centre, then it says pick another one, then it says no dates available. I dont understand why I cant just see what is available and what isnt rather than spending a stupid amount of time trying to guess what dates might be available or not. Normaly the gov website would show what’s available and what isnt. Ia this the case for others because I was getting tired of the guessing game and getting no where

  5. Reply

    Janice Luce

    I have had Two tests cancelled due to covid and now as like many others cannot get another booked what about those people who’s theory are due to run out its isn’t fare that we might have to sit another because of loosing over 6months of our time trying to take a test
    All theorys should be given 6 months grace who have less than a year to pass it is a shambles like someone else said the DVSA knew they would eventually open back up so have had enough time to sort and accommodate people

  6. Reply

    Sukhjinder Singh

    Hi. I m sukhjinder singh. I was on this site till 5.40. Its was very bad when dvsa said try next time. They don’t prepare with last 5 month. Its shamfull for who recognize this site.

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