Booking driving lessons is frustrating

Booking driving lessons

At certain times of the year, finding a driving instructor who you can take lessons with can be harder than expected.
So let’s look at the reason why.
The amount of driving instructors in the UK changes year on year. As an example; in 2012 there were over 46,000 driving instructors on the DVSA register, in 2021 that dropped to less than 38,000 driving instructors which is a decrease of 18%.
On average there are around 1.5 millions driving tests conducted each year, meaning there’s  a lot of people learning to drive and that hasn’t dropped in recent years.
Therefore in 2021 demand for driving lessons was high, but the shortage of driving instructors has caused long waiting times for students trying to start their lessons.
The covid pandemic in 2020 – 2021 didn’t help either. Due to lock downs, driving instructors were forced to stop taking people for driving lessons.
So from March 2020 to April 2021 driving lessons were stopped for 35 weeks due to the three national lock-downs.
No driving tests were conducted over this period either. So with thousands of people waiting for driving tests, and 1.5 million people wanting to start lessons, the industry was in chaos.

Driving instructors are self employed professionals, and generally see the same people every week until they pass their driving test, or stop taking lessons, so gaps rarely become available.
Driving instructors set the days and times they are willing to work, which therefore dictates how many students they require to fill a diary
They must also allow time between each lesson for travel to the next student, plus updating their previous customers’ lesson progress, and in covid times cleaning/disinfecting all touch points in the car for health and safety.
So, many instructors only service small locations, therefore making it easy to reduce the gap between lessons.
They will have a central point (post code), and only service customers within a ten minutes radius of that point.
Learners might choose to take either 60, 90, or 120 minute driving lessons. Some students might request the same time every week, others might need flexibility meaning a different day/time each week, which makes planning a diary tricky for instructors.
Some instructors might insist that students only book for example 90 minute lessons, and that they make it a regular weekly gap, which will make managing a diary easier.
An example of an instructor’s diary who allows a 30 minute gap between lessons might look like this.

Monday to Thursday Start at 9 till 10.30am, then 11 till 12.30pm, 1 till 2.30pm, 3 till 4.30pm, with the last lesson 5 till 6.30pm.

Friday might be an early finish, and Saturday, Sunday’s an option.
When demand for driving lessons is high, driving instructors have enough customers taking lessons Monday to Friday between 9 till 5, therefore they choose not to work evenings or weekends.
So when you’re looking to book your driving lessons, you will need to find an instructor that first services your pick up & drop off locations, and who has a gap that fits within your schedule.
This can involve a lot of phone calls, and you might find many calls go unanswered or you have to give your details before the sales people will check to see if they can squeeze you in.
This can be very frustrating.

Our tip is to leave your details with every driving school or instructor you speak with, then they might call you back when they have gaps.