Any fleet operator knows that there are four dreaded annual operating costs that cannot be avoided: Fuel, road tax, commercial vehicle insurance and vehicle MOT testing which is either carried out at a dedicated VOSA station or a private Authorisied Testing Station. Over the years, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) has been increasing the number of commercial vehicle testing stations around the United Kingdom to the extent that they are now in danger of having a monopoly over MOT testing.
The Road Haulage Association (RHA) claims that there is already a monopoly and is calling for it to end. It has appealed to the Department for Transport to let private sector MOT stations carry out tests instead of VOSA stations fast becoming the only option for fleet testing.
Many years ago, tests were carried out at dedicated VOSA test centres. With increases in fleet sizes and commercial vehicle numbers however, VOSA delegated the testing to Authorised Testing Stations. Now around half of vehicle testing is done by these Authorised Testing Stations. For these Testing Stations, being able to carry out MOTs is a staple part of business, bringing in a regular revenue stream to compliment less consistent work.
The head of the RHA Geoff Dunning sees the new growth in dedicated VOSA stations as inappropriate as there are already Authorised Testing Stations available. Creating more VOSA stations will move business away from the private stations thus jeopardizing them, as well as unnecessarily increasing bureaucracy in the industry.
Dunning sees the way forward as allowing the private sector to conduct vehicle testing, freeing up this area of industry considerably. He did emphasize that the proliferation of Authorised test centres should be conducted within the strict confines of a “high quality regulation.”
He added that “ending the monopoly would be likely to encourage more firms to invest in bringing their workshop up to test standards, which would be likely to have a positive knock-on effect on maintenance as a whole and would contribute to UK economic growth.” He stipulated that the VOSA monopoly is outdated needs to end now.