Driving test wait times ‘not timely’
Figures released by Transport Minister Dean Nalder show young motorists have to complete an average of 50 online searches before finding a suitable driving test booking.
The Opposition says the figures show it is still extremely hard for young drivers to get a test in a timely manner.
Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said it is so hard that many drivers are being forced to travel to regional WA to get a test booking.
In a media statement issued in August headlined “Drivers log online in droves to save time”, Mr Nalder suggested the new booking system had been a great success.
“Since the Department of Transport launched its online live booking service for practical driving assessments, about three million availability searches and 60,000 bookings have been made, ” Mr Nalder said.
He said millions of online licensing activities — including payments and demerit point checks — had been conducted online since the department’s website was launched in 2013.
“This website has given people around-the-clock access to tasks that previously required an individual to attend to in person or by telephone, ” Mr Nalder said. “The number of driving test-related calls has more than halved in the past financial year — with about 100,000 fewer of these calls in 2013-14, which has enabled our call centre staff to assist customers with more complex inquiries.”
Mr Travers said that, while the new online system was welcomed, it had created a lack of transparency on the length of time people had to wait for a test.
“The number of searches people are having to undertake demonstrates it is still extremely difficult to get a test in a timely manner, ” he said. “People are now being forced to travel to regional WA to get a booking.
“Driving tests are undertaken on a cost-recovery basis, so the Government has no excuse not to employ more examiners to ensure people can get a booking in a timely manner.
“I am concerned the Government is running down the system in preparation to privatise it.”
A department spokesman said the number of online searches did not directly reflect booking availability and that the system had been designed to encourage customers to perform multiple searches to find a location and timeslot that worked best for them.
© The West Australian
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