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Ontario road test backlog causing frustration

PAM SEATLE | posted Thursday, Nov 8th, 2018

Just over a year ago CityNews reported on massive lineups at DriveTest Centres across the GTA. People were reportedly waiting four to five hours to take the written test.

Now, there’s a new problem. There are long delays for would-be drivers to take the road test.

Driving instructors say every day, scheduled exams are delayed by hours or cancelled altogether, costing time and money and frustrating the students. The instructors describe the situation as “chaos.”

“The main system, the booking system, doesn’t work, at all,” driving instructor Ronnie Islamuzzaman told CityNews.

“They’re short of examiners. But most of the time, the new system, you open it and it’s garbage … It’s a big problem.”

Peter, another driving instructor, said a shortage of instructors and overbooking are also contributing to the backlog.

Yuvraj, a driving student who waited two hours for his road test Wednesday, said he’s worried the long delay may impact his performance.

“It’s very difficult to drive when you’re tired,” he said.

DriveTest Centres fall under the purview of the Ministry of Transportation (MTO), but years ago their management was contracted out to a company called Serco Canada.

Instructors said the current delays began when Serco brought in poorly-functioning kiosks for checking in.

“In some circumstances, road tests may be delayed due to unexpected staff absences, changing road conditions, construction or outages,” Serco said in an email.

“In the event that road tests are unable to be delivered on time, every attempt is made to ensure road tests are conducted the day of or there is the opportunity to rebook.”

The province said the problem is isolated.

“They are not systemic across all Driver Examination Centres,” said MTO spokesman Bob Nichols.

“We are working with our service provider to implement improvements to be made in instances where delays happen to reduce the frequency and duration of a wait time for a road test.”

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