A public consultation held by the government over the past couple of months has led to a reduction in the cost of taking the driver’s theory test, down £6 from £31 to £25, a change that is due to be rolled out to test takers in October.
A further reduction of £2 is set to be brought in one year later.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has negotiated new contracts with test providers in order to accommodate the new regulations, which were brought in with a view to making it easier for learner drivers to afford taking the test without test providers compromising on quality.
Transport minister Stephen Hammond said at the time: “I am delighted that theory tests will now offer better value for money while continuing to meet these rigorous standards.” No change to the cost of taking the practical test has been scheduled as yet; it stands at £62 on weekdays and £75 on evenings and weekends.
What will it mean for learner drivers?
Many who are involved in driving instruction and test provision have come out to say that this is a positive step for learner drivers, and a sign that public bodies are at last recognising the difficulties many learners have in bearing the costs of becoming a licensed driver on British roads.
The lower price should leave budding motorists with extra resources which they can allocate to study materials and driving lessons.
Those currently learning to drive have certainly voiced their appreciation for the lower fees, although those who have taken the theory test only recently are understandably a bit miffed to have got in there just that bit too early!
However, while these are all encouraging signs of progress, it leaves untouched the significantly higher fee for taking the practical test and the additional costs that come with taking it at evenings or weekends- the times that make most sense for most working adults.
Concerns have also been raised that a lower test fee may encourage learners to take the test before they are really ready and fail- or worse, to pass through the luck of the draw and go on to drive on our roads without a sound knowledge of the highway code.