Learner drivers in Oxford are still facing a 19-week wait for practical tests - despite a pledge almost three months ago by the Driving Standards Agency to cut delays.

In Banbury, delays at the West Bar Street test centre have increased by a fortnight to 17 weeks since mid-May.

Christopher Smith, of Oxfordshire Driving Instructors' Association, said: "The tests are coming through for December and I've even had reports from pupils that they've tried booking tests, only to be told by the person at the end of the phone that they weren't taking bookings at all.

"The situation is just as bad as it has been for months and there really does not seem to be anything being done about it."

Three months ago, the Oxford Mail reported that Oxford instructors criticised the DSA and the Government for not doing enough to cut "unacceptable" test delays.

The agency said it was trying to reduce waiting times by recruiting more examiners. Last month, it announced it was planning to build a multi-purpose test centre in Bicester.

Mr Smith said he welcomed the new centre - but had found out it would not be built for four years.

He said: "We need action now and what we really need is another centre in Oxford.

"Some days there are only two examiners working at the James Wolfe Road centre, in Cowley, which means that only eight to 10 tests will be done a day.

"They've employed a part-time examiner and a full-time examiner, but another full-time examiner has just left, so we're almost back where we started."

Mr Smith said potential learner drivers were also missing out, because instructors were having to spend extra time with pupils.

He said: "We've got students ready for tests, but they can't get booked in so they have to continue having lessons. That means we spend more time than usual with them and have no time to take on new pupils."

A spokesman for the DSA could not confirm when the Bicester centre would open, but said plans were still in the early stages.

The centre is part of plans to open 60 dual-purpose sites for driving and motorcycle tests across Britain.

She said: "There's a high demand for tests, and we know there are some problems with delays, but we're still trying to recruit more examiners."