THE Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) is to open its Derry MOT centre on Sundays.
The move to pull up the shutters at the centre on Victoria Road in Newbuildings on Sundays is over a huge backlog of test appointments.
Some motorists have found themselves unable to secure an appointment until well after the expiration of their MOTs.
At some centres across the North of Ireland it can take up to eight weeks to get an appointment which currently costs £30.50.
The DVA has now opened up 2,000 new appointments slots for June 16 and 23 at Newbuildings, Coleraine, Belfast, Craigavon and Newtownards.
And it has also recruited extra examiners in a bid to reduce the backlog.
The DVA said “appointments for subsequent Sundays will be released on a rolling basis over the next 2 months” and can be booked online.
A spokeswoman for the DVA said customers were advised to book their tests online as soon as they receive a reminder notice, which is now being sent out nine weeks before the current certificate expires.
“As waiting times vary between test centres, booking an MOT as early as possible means that customers have a wider range of locations, dates and times to choose from,” she said.
With a number of drivers reportedly being unable to secure a vehicle test, the PSNI has also said it has discussed a possible relaxing of the rules with the DVA and had asked for its assessment on doing so.
PSNI Inspector Rosie Leech said it was “aware of a backlog in the MOT system”, adding that “discussions are ongoing”.
While motorists can face a lengthy wait booking a test, appointments can be secured at the last minute through cancellations.
The DVA spokeswoman said that in the 2018/19 period, 32,000 customers across the North of Ireland failed to attend their MOT appointments, something it said “puts additional strain on the system”.