Getting an ITV vehicle inspection appointment for the next day in Malaga province sounded like a pipe dream at the start of the year.
A lack of personnel at the test stations, aggravated by the coronavirus pandemic, caused delays of up to four months forcing thousands of drivers to circulate on the roads with an expired test certificate, exposing them to 200-euro fines.
However, it is now a reality and there are appointments in 24 hours at inspection facilities in the province.
The temporary hiring of 180 staff in several batches between January, May and June for the nine stations in Malaga province has made it possible to eliminate waiting times for the first time in three decades of history of the public company Verificaciones Industriales de Andalucía (Veiasa).
However, priority is still given to those vehicles whose vehicle test is close to its expiration date or is already expired.
"I made an appointment and they gave me one for the next day," says José Cortés as he waits for his turn at the busy ITV station on the El Viso industrial estate in Malaga. It was one of the six stations (Mijas, Ronda, Marbella, Estepona and also on the Guadalhorce industrial estate in Malaga) in the province that had appointments for the following day, on Tuesday.
The one in El Palo offered an appointment for Thursday, while in Antequera it was for next Monday and in Algarrobo, for Tuesday.
During the pandemic lockdown period (from 16 March to 18 May, 2020) some 150,000 vehicles should have taken an ITV test in Malaga, to which another 40,000 had to be added that had expired before the declaration of the first state of alarm and the 16,000 vehicles whose validity was expiring each week.
Getting an appointment became a challenge for drivers. At the beginning of the year, the average wait in the provincial network exceeded three and a half months, although in some it exceeded four months.
The outlook began to change at the end of January, when Veiasa reacted with a first batch of temporary staff (62 inspectors and nine office workers). This was followed by others in May and the first half of June, with the incorporation of another 104 professionals.