Rush for licences looms
Companies are bracing themselves for a surge in demand for driver licensing tests when New Zealand moves to the new Covid-19 traffic light system on December 3.
Among them is VTNZ, which has postponed about 22,000 driver licence tests in Auckland this year because of the government’s four-month lockdown in response to the community outbreak of the delta variant of the virus
Greg O’Connor, VTNZ’s country manager, says the company, in conjunction with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, is ready to receive bookings from fully vaccinated customers once the Covid-19 Protection Framework is introduced.
To help tackle the backlog over the coming months, it will also be providing additional testing locations and driver testing officers.
“Our message to customers is make sure you’ve got your vaccine pass ready and ensure you book early,” adds O’Connor, pictured. “It’s going to be a very busy summer.”
Driver testing is considered a close contact service. To comply with the traffic light system guidelines, all applicants must be fully vaccinated, show a Covid-19 vaccination pass and wear a facemask during their test. If a support person is required, they must also show proof of vaccination.
“Safety is our top priority. We will be managing the significant demand for tests while still ensuring staff and customers are safe when they are out on the road,” explains O’Connor.
VTNZ has worked with Waka Kotahi to develop health and safety procedures to allow it to conduct tests under each of the new traffic light levels, and it is exploring ways to allow customers who are not fully vaccinated to take tests in the future.
Kane Patena, Waka Kotahi’s director of land transport, says VTNZ and the agency are asking people to be patient while they work through the thousands of people wanting to take tests.
“VTNZ and Waka Kotahi have rescheduled tests for all customers who were impacted by the lockdown, and encourage customers looking to make new bookings to think ahead,” he adds.