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Alberta to announce ‘immediate changes’ to reduce driver test wait times

Click to play video 'Alberta government plans to reduce driver exam waits' Alberta government plans to reduce driver exam waits
June 24: The complaints are increasing among many Albertans about how long it's taking to get a driver's test. Vinesh Pratap has more on what's being done.

The government is set to reveal its plan Thursday to lower the lengthy waits for road tests in Alberta.

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

In a news release, the province said Transportation Minister Ric McIver would announce “immediate changes” to help reduce waits.

An Alberta Motor Association representative and the president of the Association of Alberta Registry Agents are also scheduled to attend the event.

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

On March 1, the NDP changed Alberta’s driver test booking system from private to one that was under government control. The reason, the NDP said, was to fix a system plagued by reports of poor service, high fees and lack of access in smaller centres. A government-run system would ensure certain standards were met and more consistent service across Alberta, NDP MLA Thomas Dang said in a July 23 email.

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Prior to the March change, certified examiners operated as private contractors. Drivers booked tests with a registry, which called in an examiner.

Since the change took effect, some Albertans have had to wait more than six weeks to book a driving exam. Others have been forced to drive to different parts of the province to do the test. Most say the new system is to blame.

Watch below (Aug. 7): Albertans continue to face lengthy delays for road tests, and some are blaming multiple bookings and technical problems. Global’s Tomasia DaSilva explains what the province is doing to fix both.

Click to play video 'Calgary family blames multiple bookings and technical glitch for road test delay' Calgary family blames multiple bookings and technical glitch for road test delay
Calgary family blames multiple bookings and technical glitch for road test delay

In April, multiple registries told Global News anyone looking to book a Class 4 test to operate a taxi or ambulance couldn’t book one anywhere in Alberta.

READ MORE: Alberta’s lengthy road test scheduling process faces new roadblocks

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The United Conservative government later said it would review the current driver examination system.

On July 23, McIver said the government was looking at bringing back private driver testing but wouldn’t say how exactly it might work.

“Unfortunately, we are going to have to do it in two steps, because we can’t possibly put a new system in place now and make a really bad situation worse.”

— With files from Global’s Josh Ritchie