Drivers can now get have their cars tested at selected NCT centres in the middle of the night.
Twenty-four hour testing is one of a number of measures introduced to ease demand. It came into effect at Northpoint test centre in Dublin last night. It will be available four nights a week, shared with Deansgrange test centre.
The 24-hour facility will come into operation at Little Island in Cork this evening.
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said: ‘This will facilitate owners who work shifts or who may require an urgent appointment and has already proved very popular with 100 per cent of night time slots available for the first week having been booked up quickly.’
In addition, extra test lanes have been opened at the Blarney, Mullingar, Naas and Portlaoise test centres.
Opening hours have also been extended at a number of centres. The majority are now open seven days a week with late opening, to 10pm, on three days. And the Galway, Ballina, Enniscorthy and Kilkenny centres are operational from 7am to 11.30pm four days a week.
Mr Donohoe added that the number of inspectors and call centre staff have been increased, facilitating an additional 150,000 tests this year.
He also commended NCTS staff for the flexibility they have shown in addressing ‘the current unprecedented demand for tests’.
He added: ‘Our public services need to be as responsive and as flexible as possible in meeting public demand and the ability to offer a full NCT service, outside the normal 9am to 5pm, serves to better meet that demand.’
It has been an offence to drive a car without a current NCT certificate since 2009, however, changes introduced in December brought the offence under the penalty point system, attracting a fine and three penalty points.