During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, a large number of services that ordinarily had walk-in appointments switched to requiring an appointment; this included car inspections, which led to long waiting times.
However, many people found that as a result of the booking requirement became full too quickly, resulting in them missing the deadline for their check-ups and having to pay fines. Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters has now announced a return to the old system.
"The system set up during the pandemic was still in place and many people complained about that. To offer a better service, all vehicle inspections will again be possible without an appointment, as was the case before," Peeters' spokesperson told The Brussels Times.
From 1 August, people will still be able to make an appointment if they want to, but it will no longer be an obligation.
Many people, even those who called two months in advance (since the start of June, people can book an appointment online as early as two months before the expiry date of the safety certificate), have not been able to make their appointment on time. This incurred an additional €30 fee for a late visit.
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The long waiting times were also a safety concern as it resulted in people driving without their car being service-checked.
The Mobility Minister's spokesperson said that other ways to improve the service are being considered, for example digitalising car inspections by sending out automatic reminders of the need for a service check. This would accompany the existing green reminder card, which will soon be sent out earlier.
"We must improve the service with concrete initiatives," said Peeters. "I call on everyone not to wait until the very last moment and to schedule a visit on time."