An exasperated Armagh driver has spoken of her disbelief at trying to pinpoint an MOT appointment for her car which is due for renewal in six weeks time.
Despite what she thought was some forward planning, the NI Direct website – where MOTs can be booked online – had other ideas.
“I went onto the website on Monday to book a spot for September, thinking I was in good enough time, but it was telling me there were no dates available,” said Carla, who only wanted to use her first name.
“I went back on at 5am this morning (Tuesday) and the next available date was January 2 – next year, in Downpatrick at 6pm and 6.20pm.”
Carla said the worst part is the waiting in the queue just to get onto the website, something we ourselves tried. We were 546 in the queue and told to expect a 14-minute wait.
“When you get on there are just no reasonable appointments available,” said Carla.
“I didn’t even get a letter to say it was due up; I was doing this off my own bat, trying to be ahead of the game but I’m clearly not that ahead of the game.
“But how many people are driving around in vehicles deemed unroadworthy. Apparently police are not going to fine you provided your vehicle is roadworthy and you have a date, but how many are just sitting back taking advantage of that too?”
Carla said that after a couple of hours of trying she managed to secure Newry – 31 miles away – for December 8. But not before opportunities to book into Larne, Newbuildings, Mallusk and Coleraine between December 19 and Christmas!
Said Carla: “People might think the problem has gone away because you don’t hear that much about it anymore but this is a huge problem.
“The 60-mile round trip I face, with the cost of fuel these days, it’s a total shambles.”