Vehicle examiners are reporting major issues with the new MOT testing service, with the majority of problems concerning system speed, error messages and even prolonged periods of system downtime.
The DVSA has acknowledged that some testing stations have been experiencing issues during the switch-over process and have advised garages to report any problems directly to them by calling 0330 123 5654.
Speaking on the latest system outages, DVSA’s MOT Service Manager, Neil Barlow, told GW: “We are aware that some garages had issues accessing the service yesterday morning.
“There is a contingency process in place and all garages were still able to carry out tests and issue MOT certificates. This issue has now been resolved.”
The new web-based system will give garages greater flexibility for recording and managing MOT test results and can be accessed from any internet-connected device.
More than 3,500 garages are now using the new system, which has so far processed over 60,000 real MOT tests.
Around 65 per cent of the MOT trade have claimed new accounts.
Gradual system roll-out
Barlow added: “We have worked very closely with the MOT industry to develop the new service, which is being gradually rolled out to garages over the summer.
“We are continuing to update and improve the service in line with feedback from users.
Barlow explained that the DVSA have put “temporary workarounds” in place for some of the known issues, permanent fixes will be made as soon as possible.
The move to the new MOT testing service will continue to be rolled out until the end of August 2015, when it’s expected that all 22,500 MOT garages will be using the new system.
The old system will be switched off at every garage by the end of September 2015.
Despite the issues experienced so far, IGA Director Stuart James is confident the DVSA is working hard to ensure the industry benefits from an updated system.
Speaking to GW, James said: “We’ve worked very closely with the DVSA over the last 18 months and we understand that there have been some teething problems, indeed there still are some teething problems but I’m anticipating that they will meet their deadline.
“We have to be there for our member’s if their businesses are being affected by this but in the long-term, it will be better for garages and we give our support to the DVSA to help them achieve their goals in this project.”
David Walters, owner of DKW-Autos in Liverpool, DVSA VTS council member and administrator of The MOT Testers and AE’s Forum (MTAETA) told GW: “It’s a good system but people need to understand that it’s deliberately very limited at the moment.
“The main priority from DVSA’s point of view is to ensure that test stations across the country are online and active before the cut-off date in September.
“I think the general advice is just to be patient.”
Mr Walters said the data transfer is an extensive task for the DVSA, he added: “It’s coming from a system that was built in the early 2000’s, you have to consider the extent of the task here.
“The data is having to be translated, transferred and then imported into the new database and there’s 38 million class 4 MOTs a year, plus HGV and motorcycle tests – every class of MOT is on this new system.”
One registered user on the MTAETA forum last week posted: “This is the first time that I have used the new system, and in my opinion after reading all of the issues that people are having with it, I feel that it should not have been rolled out until it was working as it should be.
“[It’s] very poor, and it’s testing stations that are suffering because of it.”
However, not everyone has been experiencing problems with the switchover.
Shaun Miller of Millers Garage in Newbury, Berkshire went live with Comp 2 last month and told GW that the switchover process itself seamless.
Mr Miller said: “We bought a desktop computer and built a desk by the MOT bay, connected to the Internet and awaited DVSA instructions.
“I love not having a smart card and I love the fact it’s cloud based.
“We don’t have to back up anything, the system is user friendly a uses what I would describe at the Apple era platform, by that I mean everything is crisp and sharp with no clutter.
“I have to interest of time for people that get stuck in the past and don’t like change.”
Have you made the switch yet? Let us know how it’s been for your business, how have your customers reacted to the problems? Share your concerns and experiences in the comments below.