A woman from Morfa Nefyn has been left feeling frustrated and isolated after being made to wait nearly six months to have her driving licence returned to her.
Caryl Owen-Pritchard had an epileptic fit on 11 January 2020 which resulted in an automatic driving ban of 12 months.
She finally received her licence last Thursday, but although the issue has been resolved, Caryl said she was left frustrated by the experience.
It is possible to apply for the licence three months prior, to give the DVLA a chance to get all the relevant forms, and so Caryl applied for her licence in November 2020.
She was due to start driving again on 11 January 2021, but was unable to do so as she only received her licence on Thursday, 27 May.
This left her feeling isolated and frustrated at the situation she finds herself in.
Caryl had a fit in 2018. On that occasion the DVLA was five weeks late in returning the licence.
She said: “I am very relieved to get it back, it’s been too long, although I am slightly nervous about driving again but I am looking forward to it.
“I feel for others that are in the same position as me and are waiting. It’s unfair.
“It’s had a big impact on my working life. I am wanting to have a change in career but unable to as I live in a rural village. It is also having an impact on my mental health now.
“I suffer with bipolar and the stress of having to phone DVLA only to get no sense whatsoever is too much.
“It’s so frustrating. I had to walk a dangerous main road to get to work and back, sometimes late at night, as late as midnight at times.”
Caryl has a bus pass, but the regularity of buses from Morfa Nefyn make these journeys difficult.
She added: “Although I am entitled to a bus pass, buses only run every hour-and-a-half to Pwllheli and then I have to try to get a connection to Porthmadog to visit family. This journey takes half an hour by car, but using buses can take an-hour-and-a-half each way, taking a whole day just to visit my mother.
“Also my car is on finance so I was paying for a car I couldn’t use.
“It’s difficult to get to the shops, doctors’ appointments and chemist to pick up my medication too.
“Isolation doesn’t help. Coronavirus has been isolating enough, but without a licence it’s been even harder.
“Whenever I phoned the DVLA they were less than helpful. They just told me there was no update.
A spokesperson for the DVLA said: “Social distancing requirements mean that we must have fewer staff than usual on site at any one time and we are dealing with all applications as quickly as possible.
“Where an application involves a medical condition, we will often be wholly dependent on receiving additional information from medical professionals, such as the driver’s GP or consultant, before we can make a decision to issue a driving licence.”