Ontario’s transportation minister is seeking answers to the enormous delays being experienced at provincial drive test centres.
CityNews has continued to receive numerous complaints of four and five hour wait times just to take the written test with customers saying the computer system continually crashes which is preventing them from booking a road test.
Serco Canada is in the middle of a 10-year, $200-million contract to administer the drive test centres for the Ministry of Transportation. However, insiders say there are multiple problems within the organization.
A former Serco employee, who wanted her identity kept secret, pointed the finger at a glitchy new computer system, too few supervisors and poor training.
“When they were setting up the system they brought in senior reps for a day or maybe two and trained two people on these systems and then those two people were responsible for training the rest of us”, she told CityNews.
Kevon Stewart of the United Steelworkers Union, which represents the drive test centre workers, says the staff are as frustrated as the public, especially since Serco has begun laying off employees and reducing hours.
“I’m confused just like you are in terms of why I’m getting lay off notices now and hours being reduced,” said Stewart. “It makes no sense, If there is an acknowledgement that wait times are above and beyond it should be all hands on deck.”
There have been calls for the MTO to intervene and deal with the issues. Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says the status quo is unacceptable.
“I’m not satisfied when I hear multiple reports over many months about the fact that the level of service that we have committed to isn’t being met. That’s why i’m asking the ministry for additional information and I’m determined to get to the bottom of it.”
Part of Serco’s contract with the MTO is an obligation to meet mandated service times and if it doesn’t the company can be fined. The minister couldn’t say how much Serco has had to pay out but says he hopes to learn that information in the coming days or weeks.