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Road trips for road tests: Queue-jumpers cause major backlog on Vancouver Island

Click to play video: 'Concerns raised over British Columbians travelling out of town to take driver’s tests to avoid waits' Concerns raised over British Columbians travelling out of town to take driver’s tests to avoid waits
Despite new travel restrictions set to go into effect, some British Columbians are still booking driver road tests out of town. It's an attempt to skip long wait times. But as Kylie Stanton reports, people in smaller towns who are now having to wait months for theirs say that is not only unfair - it's dangerous – Apr 22, 2021

Despite new travel restrictions set to go into effect, some British Columbians are still booking driver road tests out of town.

It’s an attempt to skip long wait times, particularly in the Lower Mainland, but creating a huge backlog elsewhere.

“It would just be nice to be able to get it when I’m able to,” said Alexis Reinkober, a 17-year-old forced to wait months before she can take her ‘N’ licence test in Nanaimo.

Read more: ICBC backlog means teen’s ‘L’ licence may expire before he can take ‘N’ road test

“I feel like it should be like mandatory for people that live in Nanaimo to be first in line. At least something like that.”

In January, it was estimated 30 per cent of the road tests conducted on Vancouver Island were for people living elsewhere. While that is said to have eased up, the queue jumping continues.

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“People are coming from the Lower Mainland, Victoria — places like that,” said Richard Reinkober, Alexis’ father.

Click to play video: 'Calls for ICBC to crack down on road test ‘road trips’' Calls for ICBC to crack down on road test ‘road trips’
Calls for ICBC to crack down on road test ‘road trips’ – Jan 15, 2021

Even with the travel restrictions about to go into effect, tests don’t have to be booked in a driver’s home region. It raises the question of whether a driver’s test is considered essential.

“I wouldn’t consider it essential travel,” said Steve Wallace, CEO of Wallace Driving School in Vancouver.

“You’ve got all sorts of opportunities and locations to take a road test — what are you doing coming to the dinky little island here where you have 16 examiners and hundreds and hundreds of them in the Lower Mainland. You have a better chance of getting a test in the Lower Mainland.”

ICBC echoed that statement: “Currently, there is more availability for road tests in the Lower Mainland compared to Vancouver Island so there is no advantage for Lower Mainland residents to book road tests on Vancouver Island.”

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Read more: ICBC backlog has some B.C. families taking road trips for driving tests

On Thursday, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth was not clear if travelling for road tests would be considered “essential” under the new rules, but the province is looking at the issue with ICBC.

“The reality is the number of people that would be impacted by this is very few, and there may be measures or ways ICBC can do a work around or something like that,” he said.

The travel restrictions are expected to go into effect on Friday.

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