Almost 1,500 people are waiting to receive a date for their driving test in Portlaoise.
So says Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley as he called for Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to address the issue immediately.
Earlier this week, Unite the trade union said that nationally, the waiting times to secure a test has soared from six weeks a year ago to around 25 weeks at present.
According to deputy Stanley, 4,140 learner drivers are awaiting a test in Tullamore, Birr and Portlaoise with over 92,000 people waiting across the state.
907 applicants are waiting in Tullamore, 770 in Birr and a massive 1,463 in Portlaoise.
Mr Stanley said: “Throughout 2020 we called on Minister Shane Ross and the new Minister Eamon Ryan TD, to address the worsening crisis.
“Neither took the problem seriously and the situation has now greatly worsened. In fact, the number of people waiting for a test has increased by 70% since June of this year.
“With public transport down to 25% capacity and sharing of lifts not feasible due to Covid, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work.
“It’s a huge issue for people in rural parts of Laois & Offaly, where public transport simply isn’t an option. The problem is particularly bad in several parts in Laois and Offaly.
“There is a clear need for additional driving instructors and testers. Likewise, longer opening hours and weekend tests would go some way to address the lengthening backlog.
“The Minister needs to urgently consult with instructors, testers and their unions to find a way forward to accelerate the number of tests that can be carried out safely over the coming months.
“In addition, the driver theory test is still suspended, causing further delays for those learning to drive.
“Sinn Féin have also called for online driver theory tests to be extended to all categories of learner drivers, to help deal with the growing backlog of those learning to drive.
“The Driver Theory Test Service are currently providing remote theory tests for bus, truck, CPC and ADI categories. This is a welcome development, but it is essential this is now expanded to those learning to drive a car.”