Waiting times for NCTs will “come down dramatically” in June, a motoring expert has predicted.
During the pandemic, tests were halted and a large backlog built up.
Three years on and Applus Automotive say they have struggled to recruit the staff they need in order to reduce waiting times.
“Even in May, there were still over 400,000 cars on the backlog,” CompleteCar.ie journalist Shane O’Donoghue told The Pat Kenny Show.
“That was down from the figures in March - but it’s still a huge number of cars.
“Nonetheless, I think we should be optimistic that Applus are making these claims that the figures are going to come down dramatically in the next month.
“Apparently the waiting time will be halved.”
Quieter in spring
Generally, less cars are sold between February and June and, consequently, there is less demand for NCTs.
“The start of the year is no doubt the peak - because it’s obviously the anniversary of the new cars that are bought,” Mr O’Donoghue said.
“That time of year is by far the most popular for new cars.
“So, take these [figures] with a little bit of pinch of salt but I will say Applus Automotive has made a bit of an effort with recruitment, extended opening hours, increased overtime.
“They have made measures to help, to ease the situation.
“So, hopefully it’s a sign of things to come.”
Mr O’Donoghue said he is still hearing of people waiting “months” to get a date but anyone who does not get one within 28 is entitled to a free test.
“That’s something that was kind of kept very quiet over the last year or so but it’s been there from the start of the service,” he said.
“Over 3,500 people have received free tests this year and I suspect it's items like this on the radio that has drawn such attention to people that they’ve actually gone about and claimed that themselves.”
Currently, all cars older than 10-years-old must undergo an NCT annually and Cork councillors have called for the certificate's validity to be extended to two years to help reduce the backlog.
It is a proposal that motoring journalist Geraldine Herbert said would mean “more cars unroadworthy on our roads”.
Main image: Split of a test centre and mechanics.