Shadow Transport Minister Shane Love has slammed the lack of action following the setup of an audit process to prevent driving instructors making block bookings for Practical Driving Assessments (PDAs).
Mr Love relayed concerns that a particularly insidious practise is underway, forcing learner drivers to pay for practical driver assessments or wait up to six months, making a mockery of the Department of Transport’s (DoT) booking system’s integrity.
“Concerned parents and young drivers have told me some driving instructors are deliberately making multiple online PDA bookings, essentially blocking out entire days and weeks at a time regardless of whether they have someone for the slot or not,” Mr Love said.
“This calculated behaviour prevents ordinary people from booking a driving test sooner than three to four months and allows these instructors to corner the market and cut a profit from a free Government service.
“A Perth parent recently attempted to book a metropolitan test next month but could not get a booking slot until March 2023, which led them to answer an instructor’s advertisement on social media.
“This parent was immediately offered the precise day in November she had requested, with the condition being the hire of the instructor’s vehicle and a $200 fee.
“Clearly there are some instructors rorting the system and forcing West Australians to wait until next year to do their driving test.
Mr Love said questions asked in the Legislative Council earlier this year found the DoT audit process, designed to pick up this behaviour, commenced in March with audits to be conducted six monthly.
“The very reason the DoT audit was established was to prevent this behaviour from happening, yet we see this pattern of scalping PDAs on social media continue,” Mr Love said.
“DoT threatened to remove driving instructor’s access to the system if they are found to be using it for a business advantage.
“Clearly the problem remains, with two audits not able to stamp out speculative and multiple bookings by some driving instructors.”
Using Question Time in Parliament this week, Mr Love asked the Transport Minister if she was aware of any instructors having their access removed and that learner drivers were being over-charged cash for PDA’s.
“The Minister admitted she was concerned but couldn’t provide an answer straight away, so I look forward to seeing a more detailed response including her plan to put an end to this devious activity as soon as possible,” Mr Love added.
“Having West Australians forced to wait three or four months to take their driving test is simply unacceptable and the Minister must act.”