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Durham Region driving schools await approval to reopen: ‘They’re going to be hurting’

Durham driving schools await approval to reopen
WATCH: Service Ontario and DriveTest Centre's have been dealing with extended wait times since reopening. Driving schools are still waiting for any indication as to when they can start teaching again. Aaron Streck reports.

Service Ontario and DriveTest centres have been dealing with extended wait times since reopening.

Driving schools are still waiting for any indication as to when they can start teaching again.

Aliyan Rabbani was supposed to take his G1 test in March but now he has to wait another week.

“I’m almost 17, so the longer it takes for me to get my G1, the longer it takes me to get my G2. (I’m) not as experienced as I would have been if I got my G1 three months prior,” said Rabbani.

Read more: ‘I feel like we were left out’: Some Durham businesses unable to join Stage 2 of reopening

Boateng Akyeampong moved to Durham Region from the United States last month and says he waited in line for an hour to get his Ontario licence.

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“It didn’t seem like when I got here there was a lot of clear direction as to where to go, if this was the correct line or if there was a separate line for just exchanging your permit, so that was a little bit frustrating,” said Akyeampong.

Over 50 of the centres across the province are now operating on a limited basis.

“We understand it’s going to be difficult in the Phase 2 while they get other things up and running. It will give DriveTest centres a chance to clear some of the volume that’s administrative, the commercial volume, to get people right to work,” said Brian Patterson, Ontario Safety League President and CEO.

Private driving schools, however, aren’t allowed to resume business yet. John Stevenson has been an instructor for over 25 years and is pushing 4 million kilometres with Oshawa Driving School.

“The phone’s been ringing off the hook. As soon as they announced DriveTest was going to open up, everyone assumed we were going to open up as well,” said Stevenson.

He says he’s ready to reopen.

“We’re going to do things as safely as we can,” he said. “As far as our in-car lessons go, our cars are always clean. It’s our moving office; we have to keep them clean.”

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Read more: Ontario post-secondary students preparing for hybrid learning

Jimmy Liu, an instructor with SAMS driving school in Whitby, is in the same boat.

“We’re going to be having masks and shields for the instructor, mask for the student, sanitizing down the car before they get in and get out, including disposable car seat covers,” said Liu.

“Frankly, they’re going to be hurting because there hasn’t been enough work and we’re now losing a month in a critical, higher-volume season,” said Patterson.

Driving schools are expected to be allowed to reopen in the early part of the province’s third phase but there’s no clear timeline as to when that will be.

Post-secondary students preparing for hybrid learning
Post-secondary students preparing for hybrid learning