ATF operators are calling for DVSA to raise their pit fees by 25% after discovering the charge has been excluded from the agency's review of its HGV statutory test fees.
The Association of Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFOA) has written to DVSA and the DfT to demand pit fees be included in the review with a proposal that they are increased by a quarter to make up for having been capped for the past 11 years.
The review of HGV statutory test fees, Changing the Cost of DVSA Services, launched last week, is proposing an increase of around 1.5% in the charges paid to DVSA for services including driving tests, vehicle tests, vehicle tests for roadworthiness and certification and MOT services. However no increases are proposed for ATF pit or lane fees.
ATFOA argues that the fees do not reflect the cost to the ATFs in supplying the real estate, the administration and the equipment to enable DVSA testers to carry out HGV MOT tests on their premises and fail to take into account other inflationary pressures.
Stephen Smith, president of the Authorised Testing Facilities Operators Association (ATFOA), said: “ATFOA feel it is unfair and unreasonable that ATF pit fees have, again, been omitted from the review.
“It has now been over a decade since ATF’s have seen any increase in our charges. In that time the government and DVSA have conducted at least two HGV Statutory test fee consultations and both times, they have elected to omit a review of their ‘partners’ rate of pay.”
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He added that whilst DVSA has increased its revenue at least twice in the past ten years, ATFs have not been considered for a rise despite having lost between 25% and 50% testing revenue, due to what he describes as “continuous and sustained DVSA tester supply shortages.”
Smith said ATFs are facing a range of additional costs including the expense of setting up test lanes requested but not paid for by DVSA and the cost of training DVSA tester staff to use ATF equipment, which he argued should be done by DVSA.
He added that ATFs have also lost trailer testing revenue due to DVSA’s decision to increase some trailer test times and have seen an “exponential” increase in ATF administration and customer liaison, due to the DVSA cancelling tests during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.
He called for DVSA to include pit fees in the consultation with a proposal that they be raised by 25% to account for inflation, in line with the Consumer Price Index.
The consultation runs from 5 August to 11:59pm on 2 September 2021.