Since the end of July 2020, the UK Government’s Ministry of Transport has been running a campaign with MOT garages and testing centres. Called “Beat the Rush”, the campaign is aimed at garage owners, operators and franchise holders, who are predicted to be snowed under with demand for MOT testing slots in the autumn months. With these garages themselves often shut down or only carrying out emergency work for several months, the MOT is hoping its scheme will help both testers and tested get over what is likely to be a very steep hump.
Autumn surge in demand
The Ministry of Transport is predicting that demand for MOT tests will actually double this autumn; October and November being identified as the two months with the very highest demand, although September and December will also see higher than usual demand for MOT testing slots. Autumn is already the busiest time for MOT tests in normal time, but 2020 is far from normal, with the Covid 19 pandemic and lockdown sure to have lingering effects on the motor industry.
The MOT exemption period began on the 30th of March, and was due to run until the 30th of September. This was to encourage people to stay at home, and allow garages to run their businesses for emergency work only. Government advice changed in June, however, and the exemption period end was brought forward to August 1. Suddenly, millions of motorists were using their vehicles almost two months earlier than they’d planned.
Unfortunately, a very small proportion of drivers took advantage of the extra time to book an MOT test, preferring to wait until the last minute. This delay is what will cause the October and November surge, and what the MOT is trying to avoid.
Toolkit for garages
From the end of July 2020, the MOT encouraged garages to encourage their customers to Beat the Rush. August was predicted to be the slackest month in terms of tests, so it was hoped that as many drivers as possible would use this time to have their vehicles tested.
The Ministry issued bespoke email and web banners, Facebook and Twitter images, for testing garages to use on their own social media accounts. The MOT’s own three triangle logo, plus an image of a car entering a garage and a rider on a motorbike, all in Ministry grey, carry the stark “Got an exemption? Beat the Rush. Get your MOT done this August” message.
The DVSA is also taking part in the scheme, via its Get MOT reminder application; when this sends out its MOT test reminder text message, the Beat the Rush message is included. Between the DVSA and the garages themselves on the ground, it is hoped as many drivers as possible take this very sensible advice.