Solution to drive test backlog is more examiners, not temporary test centres, says instructor
Windsor-Essex overlooked for drive test centres created to eliminate a backlog
Temporary road test centres, meant to help address a testing backlog that built up due to pandemic lockdowns, are coming to regions across Ontario, but Windsor-Essex is not one of them.
In an announcement made by the Ministry of Transportation last week, temporary road test centres are set to open in Toronto, Hamilton-Niagara, Mississauga-Brampton, and York-Durham in September 2021.
Earlier this week, DriveTest centres began to offer class G2 and G road tests at two temporary locations in Oshawa.
"I don't think opening up many locations is the solution to this honestly. Hiring more examiners, having the man power to run or conduct more road tests is the solution, in my opinion," said Jacob Hammoud, owner of the driving school iDrive in Windsor.
In the fall, 167 additional temporary DriveTest examiners will be hired including 17 examiners for locations in Windsor, Sarnia, Chatham-Kent and London.
Since road tests reopened in June, iDrive — which offers digital learning — has been busy. Hammoud said it is not due to a surplus of students but rather, they are catching up with the amount of students who were waiting to take their tests during COVID-19.
"We're working six days a week and some instructors are teaching up to 10 hours a day," Hammoud said.
There are currently eight examiners at iDrive.
Last week, the Ministry of Transportation said the province is currently facing a backlog of 700,000 drivers tests.
According to Hammoud, drive test students have been on wait lists for approximately six to seven months in Windsor-Essex.
"The majority of students, they understand there is a wait-time, they understand what we're going through as a community as a whole, but they also have their own needs to be done and obligations to achieve," Hammoud said.
Hammoud said he has noticed more university students signing up to take their drivers tests than he has in the past which he attributes to the pandemic.
"We want to get our kids to drive themselves to school to avoid putting them on the buses with 52 other students going to the same school," Hammoud said.
For drivers who are eager to move themselves up the wait list, Hammoud said there are times when temporary examiners are placed to work with iDrive and other driving centres which opens up drive test slots.
"There's always new dates coming up, if you really keep checking the system and you put your name in the cancellation list of the local school you go to, you may be able to get in a lot sooner than you expect," Hammoud said.
"If you look hard enough you will find a time."
With files by Kerri Breen