NCT operator fined for failing to meet targets

Road Safety Authority penalises Applus over problems with accessing tests last year

The company that operates the National Car Test has been fined as a result of problems experienced by car owners accessing tests last year.  File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

The company that operates the National Car Test has been fined as a result of problems experienced by car owners accessing tests last year. File photograph: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

 

The company that operates the National Car Test has been fined as a result of problems experienced by car owners accessing tests last year.

NCT operator Applus paid the Road Safety Authority a “performance adjustment” and profit share of €3.33 million in 2016.

The performance adjustment related to a failure by Applus to meet performance targets in relation to longer waiting lists for an NCT test and also the timely notification of car owners that their car was due for an NCT at the beginning of 2015.

Both the RSA and Applus declined to distinguish the “performance adjustment” component of the €3.33 million from the profit share, citing corporate confidentiality.

The payment will be reflected in Applus’s 2016 accounts. Spanish company Applus was awarded the 10-year NCT contract in 2009.

Surge in applications

There was a surge in NCT applications at the end of 2014 after driving a vehicle without a valid NCT cert become a penalty point offence.

This significant additional demand led to longer waiting lists for an NCT test at the start of 2015, the busiest period for NCT tests as most new cars are registered at the beginning of the year.

During 2015, Applus also provided 76,000 free tests as it was unable to provide, as required, appointments at those customers’ preferred test centres within 28 days. Most of the free tests were allocated at the start of the year.

Applus tested 1,492,176 vehicles in 2015, and carried out 767,675 retests. An NCT test costs €55 and a retest €28.

It is understood that the issues that arose at the start of 2015 did not recur this year.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) estimates that more than 200,000 vehicles have an out-of-date NCT at any given time, from an overall national fleet of 1.9 million.

Applus recorded revenues of €80 million last year, a rise of €6 million on 2014 as the number of cars tested and retested increased by more than 250,000. Pre-tax profits rose 36 per cent year-on-year to €6 million.

The directors’ report for 2015 notes that the number of vehicles tested is ahead of expectations and anticipates more growth over the coming years.

As a consequence, Applus noted in its report its workforce has increased from 770 to 853.