VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – ICBC is working to address backlogs and challenges people have been facing in trying to book a road test amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Crown corporation has opened up another 2,000 appointments beginning Sept. 9, and plans to create another 6,000 spaces.
“Additionally, on average, 100 appointments are made available daily due to cancellations and resourcing availability,” a release reads.
The thousands of additional appointments are being made possible after ICBC announced it was adding staff and testing locations to meet the demand caused by a months-long stall in testing.
“It’s really good news for folks that have already book an appointment and it’s a little farther out than they had hoped,” says ICBC spokesperson Joanna Linsangan. “They can go back to our website right now and if they can secure one of these spots, they’ll be able to take their road test next month.”
Linsangan says seven facilities will be opening next month, but customers can already book future appointments at those locations.
“This is really the time of year when people would much rather book a road test as opposed to the fall and winter when snow hits,” she says. “We knew that this was certainly going to be a busy time, which is why we’re ramping things up here on our end.”
The additional staffing and locations are bringing the wait time down, Linsangan says, adding she expects the trend to continue.
“Yesterday it was about a 150-day wait for the Lower Mainland to book a Class 5 and 7 (road test). Checking today, it’s going down to 140 days, so we’re certainly heading in the right direction.”
Once new examiners complete their training, Linsangan says more slots will be available, shortening the waiting period.
ICBC has been under a lot of pressure after people started complaining they were being forced to wait for months for a shot at a driver’s licence because of delays created by the pandemic.
Class 5 and 7 road tests were suspended in March after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.
Aug. 24 was the first day since that time that people were able to start booking their exams. ICBC says 14,500 tests were booked between midnight and mid-afternoon that Monday.
The influx of people trying to snag a date jammed phone lines and the website, leading to mounting frustrations across the province.
Healthcare workers and first responders will continue to be offered priority testing.
-With files from Monika Gul