The Ontario’s DriveTest program and its road test booking system is coming in for lots of criticism with many driving instructors who say it is slow and delaying the licensing process for drivers.
But more importantly, it is costing them lost business as a result because many students are now hiring a driving instructor only after getting a test date as word of the delays has spread.
Media reports claim students are “fed up” with waiting months to book a driving test.
Driving instructors book road tests for their students, but the issue is the updated online reservation system introduced last September which they complain has been unpredictable and unreliable.
Ontario’s DriveTest centres manage licensing and driver examinations on behalf of the Ministry of Transportation (MTO). The service is operated by Serco Group, a U.K.-based multinational corporation, which is licensed by the MTO under a 10-year contract that began in 2013.
There are several system glitches which cause the website to frequently crash when new blocks of examination times are added. Furthermore, the site rejects valid credit cards.
The DriveTest call centre is extremely hard to reach and, once connected, instructors say it can take up to two hours to speak with an operator.
Instructors say they have successfully booked road tests, arrived at the location, and are told by DriveTest staff that there is no record of the booking.
Some instructors say they haven’t been able to book a single appointment for upto 10 days online as there’s no appointment available, neither are instructors able to reach an operator.
But officials say that this booking system was updated to make it easier for “regular driver’s licence applicants” to reserve road tests and prevent driving schools from claiming them all in advance.
Driving instructors are known to block book many dates in advance in anticipation of future students. Those instructors who can give their students flexible dates tend to get more business by default.
The new system is designed to look for unique email addresses and credit cards for each driver’s licence number.
In response to the issue, an MTO spokesperson said system enhancements may require a temporary shutdown across the booking system, but are scheduled to minimize the impacts on customers.
A statement put on warned that a shutdown of the online booking system would result in an increase in call-centre traffic, causing potentially longer wait times and dropped calls. – CINEWS