Ontario residents struggle to book driving test appointments but relief is on the way
Getting a driving test appointment in Ontario can be difficult as the province works through a huge backlog.
The issue became such a big problem this year that people were posting appointments for sale online this summer.
A Brampton woman told the Canadian Press she had an appointment booked in the spring of 2020 but that was cancelled due to lockdowns, then had another for January 2021, but it was also cancelled. Now she can't get an appointment at all.
"It's a real struggle," Anumeha Thakur told the Canadian Press. "I find it very hard, because I want to be able to pass it. And you know, I'm trying, trying and I just can't book it."
A Toronto woman told blogTO she had to book an appointment in Guelph because she couldn't find any availabilities in the city.
The Ministry of Transportation estimates that 421,827 road tests have been cancelled due to lockdown restrictions since March 2020, spokesperson Lee Alderson tells blogTO.
As of Oct. 29, 2021, Toronto accounts for approximately 17.5 per cent of the overall backlog and Peel Region accounts for about 8.25 per cent.
In June, the government announced it was spending $16 million to increase road testing capacity at all DriveTest centres across the province.
They planned to hire 167 additional new temporary driver examiners, extend weekday operating hours for passenger road testing, and offer passenger road tests on Saturdays and Sundays at select locations to clear the backlog of road tests.
Additional road test appointments are added to the DriveTest site regularly, Alderson says.
Appointments booked through a third-party website may not be honoured.
"MTO and DriveTest caution customers about the costs and drawbacks of using third-party operators," Alderson says. "DriveTest's website informs customers that there is no additional fee when scheduling a road test directly with them, and that DriveTest is not affiliated with other road test scheduling websites."
DriveTest has added IT enhancements to help curb bots from accessing road test appointments, such as adding time limits on completing bookings and eliminating the ability to switch appointments between users, he adds.
It should be getting easier to get an appointment.
To date, Ontario has opened nine temporary road test centres in Burlington, East Gwillimbury, Guelph, Niagara, Mississauga, Mount Joy (Markham), Ottawa, Oshawa, and Sarnia.
GO station parking lots are temporarily being converted into road test centres, Metrolinx announced. Passenger road tests (class G2/G) are temporarily happening at Burlington GO, Mount Joy GO, East Gwillimbury GO, and Oshawa GO.
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