Driving test booking to be streamlined

Thembela Khamango

Thembela Khamango

The nightmare that exists when booking for a learner or driver's licence could become a thing of the past.

Premier Mbazima Shilowa said in his State of the Province Speech on Monday that a new system will be implemented to ensure the smooth functioning of vehicle testing stations before the end of next month.

Prospective drivers would be able to book a test by SMS, telephone, on the Internet or in person at any testing station in the province he said.

"Booking terminals will be installed at every driver's licence testing centre and direct online linkage will be created between each centre and the Gauteng shared services call centre by the end of March," Shilowa said.

Booking at testing stations around the province has been difficult, resulting in many people not being able to book testing dates. Aspirant drivers often have to be at a station as early as 4am to secure a date because the stations only take a certain number of bookings a day.

Driving school owners told Sowetan last week that they were losing thousands of rands daily because their students were not able to secure test dates.

"I'm closing down my Braamfontein branch because it's not busy. I have lost clients because people are unable to be at the stations at 4am to be in the chosen few for the bookings that day," said driving school owner Sydney Khumalo.

Shilowa said reasons for the backlog included "a huge increase in the number of people who want to obtain driver's licences, non-cooperation by some municipalities and corruption at some stations".

l I experienced some of these problems myself when I went to book for my learner's licence on February 1 at the Randburg testing station. I arrived at 4.30am and there were already people in the queue. I waited until 7.30am when the centre opened and was lucky enough to be one of the 50 people who got test dates that day.