As a way to help reduce wait times for road tests in Alberta, the government plans to license private examiners to conduct the tests.
Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver announced Thursday the province will license people from outside the government to become driver examiners. It’s hoped the move will increase the number of tests available and reduce wait times.
The immediate plan is to license 20 new driver examiners and then evaluate the demand from there. These new positions will be placed in areas where the demand for tests is the highest, such as Edmonton and Calgary. They will not be government employees.
“Some Albertans are waiting up to 12 weeks for an exam. This is unacceptable,” McIver said.
“We are taking action to reduce wait times by licensing more examiners, while we continue to review options for a long-term, permanent system that delivers services at a level Albertans expect.”
In March, the previous NDP government changed the way road tests are handled in Alberta — shifting from a private model to a government-run model. At the time, the NDP said it was to fix a system plagued by reports of poor service, high fees and lack of access in smaller centres.
The government-run system was also meant to ensure certain standards were met and more consistent service was available across Alberta, the NDP said in July.
However, the change led to delays in booking exams, with people waiting weeks for an exam. Others said they were forced to drive to different parts of the province to do their road test.
Watch below: Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver said the examiners will be positioned in areas where demand is highest. It’s not known if the positions will be permanent.
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.
The United Conservative government later said it would review the current driver examination system.
Driver examiners currently employed by the government of Alberta will continue to provide road tests across the province, alongside the private examiners.
The jobs are temporary, but the government expects this will add another 3,000 exams per month.
With these interim measures in place, McIver said Alberta Transportation will continue its overall review of the government-run road test model. The goal is to establish long-term improvements for the delivery of driver examination services.
Watch below: Hiring private driver examiners won’t change current public system in Alberta: Ric McIver
Each month, about 14,000 road tests are performed in Alberta. During the summer months, though, that number spikes to about 20,000, the province said.
Anyone interested in applying for the jobs is encouraged to visit the government’s website.