Thank you for your email about the practical driving test.
The Transport Agency’s aim is that a person booking a practical driving test anywhere in the country should be able to get a test booked within two weeks. Demand for practical driving tests is currently running about 20% higher than at the same time last year – this level of increased demand wasn’t anticipated, and as a result waiting times are currently unacceptably long in some parts of the country. The problem is particularly felt in Auckland and other parts of the upper North Island, where the demand for testing is the highest.
Over the past two months the Transport Agency has put measures in place – including having testing officers work overtimes and moving testing officers to areas with higher demand – which has helped to reduce waiting times in many parts of the country. Currently, nationwide, the average wait time for a restricted test is 18 days, and the average wait time for a full test is 30 days (those are calendar days, not business days). But in Auckland the wait times are much longer, currently averaging 57 days across both types of practical tests (restricted and full).
We know how important gaining a driver licence is for young people’s independence and for their employment prospects. The current situation is causing serious headaches for people - it’s not acceptable and we apologise for the difficulties it is causing. Over the past two months we have moved more testing officers to Auckland. Testing officers continue to do a lot of over-time and work on the weekends – which equates to around an extra 200 tests per week in Auckland. We’ve put incentives in place to minimise any leave taken by testing officers. Unfortunately all of those things have only managed to keep waiting times from growing further, they haven’t reduced the wait times.
Why is this a problem?
· We underestimated the growth in demand for tests in the Auckland region, which is exceeding all expectations and forecasts
· Forecasting volumes is quite difficult. Until recently the proportion of young people applying for their drivers licence was declining. This trend has now reversed in New Zealand, with more young people wanting to get their licence.
What are we doing next?
· On 1 May, VTNZ are taking over the provision of practical driver tests.
· Our focus will be working with them to get wait times back to acceptable levels as quickly as possible.
- We know that to meet demand in the Auckland region, we need to be able to deliver around 7000 testing hours per month.
- We currently have only 4,800 testing hours available in Auckland for the month of May – but we are taking steps to increase that to more than 7000 hours, which we hope will bring down wait times across the board (in Auckland and as a flow on in other parts of the country).
· We will be adding another 15 testers from 1 May, mostly working in Auckland, which will allow more than 2,000 additional tests to be carried out.
· This extra capacity will continue into June and July.
I hope that this information has been of assistance to you and if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to call the Driver Licencing Contact Centre on 0800 822 422, Monday-Friday 8am-6pm.
Senior Customer Service Representative
Driver Licencing 0800 822 422
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