DRIVING instructors face huge hits to their income following disruption to services – despite introducing a range of Covid-19 secure measures.

Driving lessons and tests were able to resume in July after a worrying period for the industry.

Since then it has been a hectic period for many, but the threat of lost income remains a significant risk.

Self-employed Mo Hussain, who runs Mo’s Driver Training, said: “The last few months have been really busy for us, with a record number of enquires.

“Many pupils are looking to catch up on lost learning time or are seeking a driving licence as an alternative to using public transport.

“Driving instructors are having to implement many safety measures, such as calling or texting pupils before every lesson to ask if they had any Covid-19 symptoms or been around someone who has had Covid-19 or symptoms.

“If the answer is yes, then lessons are postponed and fees waived.”

Warrington Guardian:

Mo Hussain

Before each lesson, contact points are wiped with anti-bacterial wipes, the instructor and pupil wear a face mask, hand sanitiser is available, windows are kept open to maximise ventilation and feedback of lessons is given outside of the car.

Mo said: “The pandemic definitely has had a significant impact on learners as many pupils had to miss months of learning and couldn’t find test availability before going away to universities, and many pupils had to pay hundreds of pounds in renewing their college bus pass.

“As well as the financial strains, missing lessons for many months is slowing down the progress of learning in some cases.

“In my over 20 years as a driving instructor I have never faced anything like the Covid-19 pandemic before and hope we don’t in the future, but I do very much appreciate that myself and other instructors are very fortunate to have a job when many people are struggling.”

Grace Burnett and twin brother Tom, aged 17, have been learning to drive with Mo.

“Coronavirus delayed the process of receiving a provisional licence by quite a few weeks,” said Grace.

Warrington Guardian:

Grace Burnett

“Also, because most instructors have been fully booked with returning students, there has been no space anywhere for new students who want to learn how to drive.

“Thankfully, Mo has managed to fit me in for a lesson a week, but I’m still having to get provisional driver’s insurance on my mum’s car so that I can fit as many hours of driving practice in as I can.

“I feel really safe during my driving lessons because there are always precautions being taken to ensure that the students are safe.

“There are things such as wearing a face covering and keeping windows open a bit for ventilation as well as sanitising the area and hands before and after each lesson.”

Tom added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has massively impacted my learning efforts.

“This is because I had to start my lessons had to start my lessons five months later than I had originally planned.

Warrington Guardian:

Tom Burnett

“Despite lesson being allowed to continue in July, my provisional took several months to arrive because of reduced staff and a surge in applications.

“I feel very safe during my lessons. My instructor, Mo Hussain, goes above and beyond to ensure that he takes every precaution possible throughout every lesson.”