Long lineup for reopening of Ottawa DriveTest centre
OTTAWA -- Dozens lined up early Monday morning at the DriveTest centre on Walkley Road as it reopened for the first time in three months.
DriveTest centres in Ottawa and across eastern Ontario are reopening Monday after being closed since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Transportation says all 56 full-time DriveTest centres will be offering limited services. During the first phase of reopening, the ministry says DriveTest centres will offer G1 and M1 knowledge tests, driver's licence exchanges and commercial driver's licence applications and upgrades.
Commercial road tests will be available by appointment at 28 locations across the province.
The Ontario Government says the expectation is that Ontario's driver testing services provider will restore full service by September. Part-time Travel Point locations will begin reopening more gradually.
All DriveTest centres were closed on March 23 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the reopening plan, DriveTest will incorporate a gradual, staggered approach, based on customer dates of birth.
People with birthdays between January and June will be allowed to visit a DriveTest centre the first week of reopening. People with birthdays between July and December will have access to the services the following week.
16-year-old Victoria Pears was in line Monday to take her G1 test.
"My dad was going to pick me up early and we were going to get my G1 here," she said, of her birthday in March. "Unfortunately, that didn't happen because of COVID, so I've been waiting a really long time to get it."
Pears says everyone was told to wear a mask and there were very few people at the testing computers.
"It was really spaced out. I think there were 20 computer stations but only four of them were operating."
After the lengthy wait, and a successful test, she drove away with her mom in the passenger seat.
"I'm feeling ecstatic, pretty much, and really free that I can drive," she said.
Access to DriveTest services will continue to alternate weekly until full services are restored.
All customers will be required to wear face coverings inside DriveTest centres and during road tests, sanitize their hands when they enter the building and undergo temperature checks before road tests. All DriveTest staff will wear personal protective equipment when serving customers.