DRIVING instructors are struggling with rising fuel prices, with one instructor describing it as "soul destroying".

This time last year it cost Ringwood driving instructor Deborah Axworthy £46 to fill up her car. Now it costs £78. 

Deborah, who is chair of the Bournemouth and District Driving Instructors Association, said: “It’s having a huge impact financially.  

“You’ve got a choice: you either put your costs up or you do less miles and it will take students longer to learn to drive so it will cost them more anyway, so I’ve had to put the prices up.  

“We don’t want to do that. 

“It’s soul destroying. You can’t do the job to the standard that you want to because you can’t get a test when somebody is actually going to be ready. 

“Everything from insurance and tyres has increased by probably 30 per cent in costs, but you can’t put a 30 per cent increase on your lesson price because the people learning to drive are struggling too.” 

Bournemouth Echo: Picture by PAPicture by PA

Read more: Cost of living: Dorset Police officers using foodbanks

The situation has also been made worse by the fact there is only one test centre in BCP, in Poole. Students are having to take their tests in Southampton, Salisbury and Dorchester. 

Deborah added: “I’ve been an instructor for 19 years and from my experience it is not going to improve. I can’t see it changing unless there's an increase in examiners at Poole.  

“None of us wanted Bournemouth to close and now there is a six-month waiting list for tests. 

“They haven’t recruited enough examiners and it’s down to bad management and organisation.  

“It's not a happy place to be working where it used to be the best job in the world.” 

Read more: Huge driving test backlog for learners in Poole

A DVSA spokesperson said: “We are doing all we can to provide learners with as many tests as possible and bring average waiting times down to less than 10 weeks by the end of the year. 

“To tackle the high demand for tests we have introduced a number of measures including, recruiting an additional 300 examiners, conducting out of hours testing such as at weekends and on public holidays and asking all those qualified to conduct tests.”