'Be patient': Backlogs continue to plague Ontario's DriveTest centres

·2 min read
Backlogs continue to plague Ontarians hoping to upgrade their driver's licences. (CBC - image credit)
Backlogs continue to plague Ontarians hoping to upgrade their driver's licences. (CBC - image credit)

Some people arrived before sunrise on Monday, forming the beginnings of what quickly became a long queue outside the DriveTest centre in North York.

By comparison, Georgois Dalynas-Vatis and Omar El-Baytan were late comers, arriving with folding chairs at 6:50 a.m. — a mere 10 minutes before the centre opened its doors.

After more than an hour in line, a hopeful Dalynas-Vatis suggested it might take one more hour before he could get in to write his G1 driving test.

El-Baytan was less optimistic. "Definitely more [than an hour]," he told CBC News.

Across the province, people looking to write their G1 test or take their G2 or G road tests, among other DriveTest services, continue to face huge lineups and long testing backlogs as a result of pandemic lockdowns.

Road tests, in particular, faced a backlog of 700,000 tests as of the end of July, prompting the province to announce it would open new temporary testing sites and hire additional examiners to help clear it.

WATCH | Trying to book a driving test a frustrating experience for many as Ontario deals with massive backlog:

But outside the North York location nearly a month later, the frustration was palpable. Paul Brason arrived less than 15 minutes after its doors opened, but said the line hadn't moved at all in half-an-hour.

"I've already done the road test," said Brason, who was in line to upgrade his physical licence to reflect that he passed his test to be able to drive a motorcycle.

"I'm not an expert on what they do in there, but this is kind of slow," he said.

Brason suggested splitting the line into two queues, one that could prioritize handling paperwork and another designated for those coming to write their own tests.

From farther back in the line, Dalynas-Vatis suggested that the province look into allowing a person to take the test remotely, using their own personal device.

"They should just get more tablets," chimed in El-Baytan.

Later on Monday, the province announced it would be adding even more temporary centres "in areas where the demand is highest."

Per a news release, the province is opening up temporary centres for G2 and G road tests in Burlington, Markham and East Gwillimbury. Further openings are planned for Mississauga, southwestern Ontario, Niagara Region, and in or around Ottawa. In addition, Ontario says it will be hiring 251 examiners and expanding the hours of operation.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation said the backlog for road tests currently stands at roughly 680,000.

The ministry has no plans to make any changes to the G1 test being "delivered onsite," the spokesperson said, adding that long line ups are a result of physical distancing requirements.

"We ask the public to be patient with these requirements while at DriveTest centres," said the spokesperson.

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