I am new to the old driving lark so when the car came up for its first MOT I had no idea what to expect. On Thursday I went to the NI Direct website to check what slots are free. The MOT booking site updates in real time so I was able to get a cancelation for 3:30pm that very day. That will do me, so I clicked the button, entered my debit card details and I was all booked in. If there are no cancelations at the most you would be waiting is a week or two.
Three times as many people now book their MOT online and I can strongly advise doing it online vs over the phone. Online you can see all the free slots for the upcoming weeks and you can even change your appointment if you need to, the site works really well.
Being warned that they would not take me if I was one minute late I was there for 3:10pm, and joined the queue of cars. At exactly 3:30pm one of the inspectors beckoning me in to the inspection hall. He was a very nice chap and answered my question as to why they pull cars out of the queue and don’t take them in order. He explained they monitor the car license plates as people come in and they take you as close to your booking time as possible.
So I drove in and the car was connected to all kind of test machines. It was prodded and poked, to within and inch of its bodywork, the mechanical equivalent of saying ‘aaah’. The whole process lasted just 15mins. At the end the car passed, the nice man gave me a certificate (you no longer need to put a MOT disc on your windscreen), and I was on my way.
We give the public sector a lot of abuse here on slugger, frankly much of it deserved. But it is important to highlight when things work well. The whole MOT process was surprisingly professional and well run. I was more than happy to pay the reasonable £30 fee to ensure I am not driving around in a death-trap. Well done lads.