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The site now occupied by Waveney Norse in Rotterdam Road, Lowestoft, has been an MOT station for the last 55 years.
From the very beginning MOTs have been offered to the general public at this District Council owned site yet, even today, some businesses and individuals in the area are surprised to learn that they can get their vehicles tested or repaired there; by the same people who maintain Waveney District Council’s fleet of vehicles.
Things are beginning to change, though. “More and more firms and people are finding out about us now,” says workshop manager Chris Davison. “I think there is a perception that because we look after the Council’s vehicles we are trustworthy and professional, so people know they will get a thorough and honest assessment of their vehicle”.
The staff offering the MOTs certainly have the experience – they have been testing vehicles for a very long time. Lead examiner Bruce began MOT testing in 1986 and his colleague Dennis started testing vehicles 15 years ago.
The MOT test has changed a lot over the years, as Bruce explains; “The test started as a basic check of lights, brakes and steering but more items were added over the years including body structure, tyres and emissions.”
Today the test is a sophisticated process involving high-tech equipment including ‘rolling roads’, emissions testers and deceleration measuring devices.
At the same time vehicles themselves have also become more complex: ABS brakes, engine management systems, and injectors rather than carburettors have all brought improvements to vehicles, but have also made it much more difficult for the average person to service and repair their own car, as many of us did 30 years ago.
As well as carrying out MOTs on vans, minibuses, cars and motorbikes, the MOT station at Waveney Norse also undertakes inspections of some unusual vehicles, as Chris Davison explains. “We’ve inspected hearses and also classic cars including stretch limousines, a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Lotus. Our lead MOT inspector even checks Landau (horse drawn carriages) for safety, although he does go and visit the carriages on site rather than them having to ride into Lowestoft.”
Customer Service is another area which has seen improvements as a result of technology. The days of discovering that your MOT ran out months ago and you never realised it are long gone – these days Waveney Norse text message their customers to tell them when their next MOT is due.
Although they opened a long time ago, today the whole experience at the Waveney Norse vehicle workshop and testing station at Rotterdam Road is modern and comfortable.
There is no need for customers to stand in a draughty waiting room, with the smell of grease and the sounds of clanging equipment. Instead, there is a modern café (with a five star hygiene rating) on site that’s open from 8.15am. It serves simple, freshly cooked food such as omelettes, fried eggs on toast and bacon sandwiches, with a television to watch while you wait.
The location is also convenient for customers who want to do some shopping whilst they are in town having their vehicle looked at. The North Quay retail park is just a couple of minutes’ walk away and the town centre a fifteen minute stroll.
For members of the pubic, getting a car MOT-ed can take valuable time out of their day, and can be inconvenient if they need to go to work. For customers who find it helpful to get their car looked at before work, or for garages that work late and need another tester to carry out their MOTs the next morning, the testing station opens at 6.30am.
In addition to providing MOTs, Waveney Norse also provides independent vehicle servicing and repairs to members of the public and business fleets, including those of the District Council.
For more information, call Waveney Norse on 01502 565626.