Alberta addressing concerns with driver's licence test delays

April 8: The province's new drivers' exam system has led to chaos and delays, according to one industry group representing examiners. Alberta took over all driver examinations March 1. Fletcher Kent explains.

Some help is on the way for people frustrated, waiting weeks and weeks to get their driver’s licence tests done.

“I went online. They told me to go online to do it,” Jeff Widdows said. “There was no dates available anywhere within 100 kilometres of Edmonton for over a month.”

Widdows completed his written motorcycle licence exam in May. The first date he found for a practical driving test was June 26 but it was in Calgary.

“It means I need to find somebody to drive down to Calgary with me, bribe them with beer or get a truck and trailer and drive down there.”

READ MORE: ‘Chaos in the industry’: Complaints mount over new Alberta driver exam system

The United Conservative government blames the previous NDP government for the delays.

Driver exams moved in-house on March 1 following concerns raised about the services delivered privately, with seven complaints per day about examiners.

Watch below (April 8): The province’s new drivers’ exam system has led to chaos and delays, according to one industry group representing examiners. Alberta took over all driver examinations March 1. Fletcher Kent explains.

READ MORE: Alberta government taking back driver’s licence road testing from private industry

Under the old system, there were over 150 certified examiners. That number that dropped to just over 70 as testers became provincial employees.

Capacity went from 15,000 tests a month to approximately 8,000.

“Our department has been working very hard to mop up the mess,” Transportation Minister Ric McIver said.

“As of this week, we are actually back up to 140 driver examiners on the job. By this time next week, we should be up to 150 — essentially back up to full strength.”

READ MORE: Alberta examiners stop conducting driving tests over disagreement on industry deprivatization

Global News asked the minister if the driver examination system should stay in-house, go back to private contractors or a mix somewhere between the two options.

McIver indicated that’s a question for another day.

Watch below (Oct. 2, 2018): Alberta is ditching its privatized model for road testing and will administer road exams directly to new drivers. Kendra Slugoski explains from the Alberta Legislature.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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