Waiting times for NCT appointments to be halved by the end of June

Mechanic using laptop

13 June 2023

The current average waiting period is 23 days.

The average waiting time for an NCT appointment is due to be halved, as a spokesperson for the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said that most priority-listed motorists will get an appointment within 30 days. The backlog reached its highest point in March this year, when 425,000 vehicles were overdue an NCT. Since then, the number has dropped slightly, with 414,000 vehicles waiting for an appointment as of the May 11.

“The National Car Testing Service is continuing to experience lengthy appointment delays, arising from high demand and a long-term, EEA-wide shortage of qualified mechanics,” a spokesperson told the Independent. “However, testing capacity has increased significantly in recent months with
ongoing recruitment of vehicle inspectors, and delays are now decreasing.”

A number of factors have contributed to the backlog. NCT operator Applus primarily blamed many resignations amid the COVID-19 pandemic for placing a large amount of strain on the system.

Applus said that 113 of its inspectors left over the course of the pandemic, a figure equating to 19 per cent of its inspector workforce.

The company, which also operates overseas, is resorting to hiring staff from outside of Ireland, with mechanics from Spain and the Philippines employed to ease the congestion in the system.

Five additional NCT centres are also set to open in an effort to ease waiting times and clear the backlog.

According to the Independent, 3,554 NCT customers have received a free test – under a guarantee that, subject to conditions, customers do not have to pay if they have to wait more than 28 days from first seeking an appointment. A spokesperson for Applus has stated that waiting times for appointments are beginning to decrease, saying: “We are still targeting a much-improved service in terms of availability of appointments by the start of quarter three.”

“We are already starting to see the waiting times decrease in some centres and this is as a result of the improvements we are making across the operations. This trend is set to continue across the NCT’s network in the coming months.”