Student drivers can't find a road test appointment in Ottawa until 2022
OTTAWA -- Some Ottawa drivers are scrambling to find a road test appointment, as the Ontario government resumes in-vehicle road tests.
The government says there have been more than 400,000 road tests cancelled across the province due to closures during the entire pandemic. In-vehicle road tests resumed this week with COVID-19 restrictions in place, but appointments are hard to come by.
Elliot Gentle, 17, describes looking at the online booking system as "all X's until April of next year."
Gentle wants to book his G2 test as soon as possible, so he took the soonest appointment he could find, and his family will be driving him six hours away to do it.
"I currently have an appointment booked in Sudbury… in October, that was the only available time spots," says Gentle.
His mother Maria McLaughlin says they have spent hours online trying to book a test.
"(Sudbury) was the only spot within an eight-hour drive of Ottawa that had anything this year," said McLaughlin.
She says her son wants his licence to be more independent.
"He is saving his money to buy a car and is going to college next year," said McLaughlin.
The province says they are working on the backlog and are investing more than $16 million to increase road testing capacity at all DriveTest centres across the province. This includes hiring 167 additional driver examiners. This will be on top of nearly 100 temporary examiners the province announced back in the fall.
The province says they are also adding six temporary road-testing locations that will be located within a 30-minute driving radius from existing locations with the greatest demand. None are coming to Ottawa.
In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, the province says, "DriveTest is unable to prioritize customers with cancelled appointments. The current road test booking system does not have the functionality to prioritize road test appointments for specific individuals or groups."
Josh Schmidt spent hours online last week looking for an appointment and found a cancellation at the Walkley Road DriveTest location.
"I just looked all the time, I kept checking the site I checked so many different places, and I got lucky- someone must have cancelled so there was one test in the one day," said Schmidt.