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NCT backlog and 3500 late cancellations or no shows per week. Why can't they do drive in tests?

  • 18-02-2023 1:51am
    Registered Users Posts: 18,986 ✭✭✭✭

    The NCT says that part of the reason why the backlog is so big is because 3.5k test are cancelled with short notice, the slot can't be reallocated, or no shows. That's about 10 a day in each of their centres. Why can't the NCT do a drive in test like the NDLS used to do walk ins for the licence? It would mean that the centres are being fully utilised and will reduce the backlog. Obviously it's not going to suit everyone but it'll work for some people.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    With a six month backlog, could you even imagine the size of the queue if they did that?

  • Registered Users Posts: 734 ✭✭✭GSBellew

    There are 49 centres in Ireland, if we take a 8 hour 5 day week with 1.33 tests an hour

    49 * 40 * 5 = 9,800 hours per week / 1.33 = 7,368 tests per week excluding retests, that is with one lane per centre, so double that to 14,736 assuming two lanes and only two testers per centre.

    14,736 x 52 = 766,272 tests per year assuming there are only 98 NCT testers in 49 centres with 2 lanes each working 40 hour weeks.

    In reality there are more than two testers per centre and most probably have more than two lanes.

    If we had 4 testers per 49 centres with 2 lanes it goes to a capacity of 1,535,544 per year

    in 2022 there were a total of 1,395,505 tests carried out, well below the theoretical capacity based on 4 testers with 2 lanes, yes I know there are retests to consider.

    Additional capacity could be cleared instantly by moving all psv vehicles to cvrt centres, so all taxi's hackneys etc that are subject to an annual test from new and are taking capacity from the nct from day one on the road, these are in reality commercial vehicles and should be in a separate test stream to private vehicles.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,084 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

    Rarely have I got to NCT center and the test started on time. If they had a lot of empty slots the tests would start on time, most of the time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,513 ✭✭✭the_pen_turner

    why dont they start taking a deposit. that would stop most of the messing about

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,986 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    If there's only 10 missed appointments a day the queues won't be that long. The person would have to go in to register and they'll be told that there's already 10 people registered for a missed appointment.

    I've heard the CVRT system is nearly as bad as the NCT.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    You've just moved the queue to being one to register instead.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭walterking

    They do.

    Best time to walk in is 12.30 - just before lunch, or late in the day.

    Once you are polite, they will oblige

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,084 ✭✭✭✭Flinty997

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,297 ✭✭✭walterking

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,260 ✭✭✭ratracer

    The whole online booking system is a joke, and I reckon they are holding back appointments so that they don’t have to give away free ones!

    At the start of Feb, I went to book my car in for its first NCT, due by end of March. The nearest date I could get on the website was end of July. (This is for Galway, Ennis or Tuam centres)

    So I phoned them up instead, gave them the reg and due date and I was then able to choose from many dates/ times in March.

    So I don’t fully buy the ‘people aren’t turning up’ argument, or else those spaces that I was offered over the phone wouldn’t be showing up as availability so far in advance.

    Also this got me thinking, do Applus have financial penalties built into their contract if they can’t provide the service they were contracted to?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 241 ✭✭Stephenc66

    I got lucky with cancelations this week just gone. Car due for NCT on the 3rd of March. Tried booking in January and the earliest I could get in Limerick or Nenagh was a date in April.

    I read on here about going online late at night and their might be slots available.

    Last Thursday night week I was out late and when I got home I decided to check bookings online, at 12.40 am Friday morning I had a choice of slots for this Sunday just gone for Nenagh.

    I chose 9.15am arrived early and was seen early. Embarrassingly I failed on a side light bulb which had been working on Friday when I gave the lights the once over. Local filling station had a bulb. Sorted and returned within 15-20 min for the visual. Left cert in hand all sorted.

    I did ask the tester how it might be that I got the slot so quickly. He explained the issue with the cancelations as in the OPs post and that the system was up dated after 11.30pm each evening and confirmed it was a good time to check.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,365 ✭✭✭raclle

    If they didn't keep failing more than half the cars they might free up a bit of room. I find it hard to believe that many cars are regularly failing every 12 months. We all know it for what it is.

  • Registered Users Posts: 82,508 ✭✭✭✭Atlantic Dawn

    I think it's at a stage now where they will need to give all existing NCT's a 6 month add-on like they did for Covid to catch up.

  • Registered Users Posts: 51,238 ✭✭✭✭bazz26

    I was booking one online for the father's car recently. Initially like everyone else I found that you couldn't get a booking for less than 6 months out. Before going down the route of ringing them to be put on the priority list I did a bit of the usual checking late in the evening to see if any cancelled slots became available. I found that they are releasing a good few slots for 2 or 3 days from the day you check at around 11:30pm every night ie. if you checked tonight you would find slots on Feb 20/21/22. They disappear fairly fast though so obviously people are checking regularly. I managed to get a slot in the afternoon 2 days later for the father. This was the Limerick centre but I did notice that similar slots appeared for nearby centres in Ennis and Nenagh too at the time.

    Obviously that may not work for everyone at short notice but if your car is ready to go and your flexible then they can be got with the a bit of effort and patience. While I was booking the father's car I managed to find a slot 3 days after my own car's due date at the end of June so took that. Of course none of this should be this way but it is what it is right now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,352 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    I had my nct during the week. Passed no issues at all.

    I notice that the obd part doesn't seem to be done. No obd mileage recorded. No notes or anything re obd checks.

    Is that section of the test suspended at the minute or anything?

  • Registered Users Posts: 120 ✭✭M3CS

    So every single week 3,500 people who went to the trouble of booking the test in the first place are deciding they won't bother showing up? Absolute nonsense.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,986 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    I never said that people should queue, another poster was worried about cars queuing.

    I said that they should give cancelled or missed slots to people who don't have an appointment. You have to register at the test centre with or without an appointment.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,986 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    Not many people have access to ramps to check their car before the NCT and the advice that is always given here to people asking about a pre NCT check from a garage is to not bother, the advice is to get the car tested and fix anything that fails.

    If you think that you're car was failed incorrectly there's an appeals process. The fact that people don't use the appeals process would imply that most know that the fail is valid.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,375 ✭✭✭✭ednwireland

    got a letter in Jan, booked an appointment for Feb 17. donegal town. even better it passed 😀

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,721 ✭✭✭zg3409

    OP, I think applus are just trying to blame the drivers for a 6 month NCT wait. The reality is they probably assume a few people every day will be no show and so slightly overbook. They do apply a fine if you are no show. To not pay the fine you need to change your date 5 working days not including weekends so basically a week before hand. They suggest people contact them and rebook but don't give enough notice in some cases. I am sure even with 24 hour notice they can get another person to book and show up.

    The root cause is they don't have enough "mechanics" and they can't get enough due to lack of pay and conditions and the housing shortage. They said they were getting some Spanish mechanics as they are a Spanish company. It's fairly simple maths. Apparently the government are looking to apply penalties and they are in dispute. It's crazy there is no at least basic work around by now. People here have suggested workable solutions, things like 14 months nct instead of 12 is a quick fix.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23,352 ✭✭✭✭mickdw

    You would imagine standards will be softened alittle to increase pass rates and free up some slots.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,365 ✭✭✭raclle

    My issue with NCT centres like everything else in this country is it been run by a private company who are milking it. Less than half of all vehicles in the country are passing. So most people have to fork out €83 or more every 12 months. The complaints are everywhere and even figures showing high failure rates released not so long ago. All these people need to rebook their tests which is adding to the mess.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,452 ✭✭✭✭MEGA BRO WOLF 5000

    EIGHT months I waited for a test. Was due at the start of this month but some asshat decided to rob the car two days before I was due to take the test and did a fair amount of damage. Car is now sorted again and the closest test I can get is bloody SEPTEMBER!

    Now that's going the official website way, I do need the car on the road for summer so I'll be getting on the cancellation list or refreshing the NCT site at 3am.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,854 ✭✭✭PsychoPete

    Quickest way to get a date is make friends with someone in a test centre

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,060 ✭✭✭Sexual Chocolate

    What's the story with dealers and the NCT ? Waiting about 10 days for dealer to NCT a jap import. Always thought dealers got slots quicker that then public which is making us wonder why it's taking so long.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,965 ✭✭✭gipi

    If you book online, you pay in full upfront, even if the date is months away.

    I had a booking for a date in Feb, booked and paid last August. Car was sold in October, I got my fee back once I cancelled the test.

  • Moderators, Regional North West Moderators Posts: 19,120 Mod ✭✭✭✭byte

    I knew my NCT was up in mid January, so I went to book a test in November last year, trying to stay ahead of the backlog.

    The earliest test I could get was last Sunday in Letterkenny! Donegal Town (where I live), the earliest listed was in March!

    Then a few weeks ago, my boss asked me to book a test for his car, and there was an opening for the following Friday! I guess he got lucky filling a cancellation slot, I dunno.

    Anyway, the car passed so I'm happy enough to have it behind me :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,154 ✭✭✭Padre_Pio

    Standards aren't very high in the first place!

    From the NCT website, there were 64 thousand failed tests last year.

    26 thousand were either tyres or bulb alignment. Both of these can be checked easily enough.

    Failing on tyres is pure laziness IMO, yet it's the biggest cause of failure.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,166 ✭✭✭barneygumble99

    It was pointed out in the Oireachtas meeting a few week ago that test centres are already operating at 105% capacity because the no shows and cancellations are being filled by test centres contacting garages to leave cars there on stand by to fill those slots. So the notion by NCT that the backlog is caused by no shows and cancellations is rubbish. It’s caused by a lack of staff which is they can’t get mechanics and staff leaving to go to intel. The reason the slots are filled by garages is because the cars are sales cars and they don’t mind leaving them there for a day or two.

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  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    A person putting the car through the test might have concerns that it would fail on something more serious so may wait until after the nct to put 300 to 500 euros of tires on it.