Access PEI sees spike in driver's licence renewals ahead of fee change

Access PEI offices have been busy with driver's licence and registration renewals since the provincial government announced it will be reinstating fees. 

The previous Liberal government took away the fees for driver's licence renewal and reduced registration fees on most vehicles on Jan. 1, 2019, as a way to offset the carbon tax on gas. 

But on Nov. 12,  the PC government announced they were scrapping that plan. Instead fees would be put into a new $5-million active transportation plan, that will improve paths and roadways to promote walking and cycling.

That change has prompted many people to get in before the fees come back. 

"We're probably running around 30 to 40 per cent higher right now, which is a significant increase right across our offices," said Mark Arsenault, director of Access PEI.

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

"Depending on the time of the year … whether it's the first of the month or the end of the month, we have different fluctuations in traffic. But right now it's been pretty steady and staff are probably a little bit more equipped to deal with it just because we just went through a recent change."

The numbers took a big jump the week the change was announced and have stayed higher than average since. 

There's still time

Islanders can still avoid the fees until Jan. 1, as long as your licence or registration will expire within five months. 

"So depending on when your driver's license is due for renewal, if it's within five months of January 1st or December 31 you can renew early. Same as registrations," Arsenault said.

But if you miss the Jan. 1 date, you will have to pay the fee. A five-year licence will cost $113, and registration fees will also increase for gas-powered vehicles, while hybrids will be half the price and electric vehicles will continue to be free.  

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