YK Poudel 

The number of driving license applicants has increased, almost doubling in the past two years, according to Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA).

The authority issued 12,803 licenses in the fiscal year 2021-2022. This was an increase of 5,376 licenses from the 2020-2021 fiscal year which saw the issuance of 7,427 licenses.

“The demand for licenses has increased compared to the past years. Of the total licenses issued, 11,452 were ordinary licenses and 1,351 professional driving (PD) licenses,” said an official.

Officiating BCTA Director, Sithar Dorji, said that the authority provides driving tests in all regional offices and base offices.

“To ensure an effective service delivery, Thimphu regional office provides driving test every day – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the general public and Tuesday and Thursday for driving institutes in Thimphu,” he said. “Other base offices conduct tests based on their schedule.”

Driving licence issued

2019-2020: 9,189

2020-2021: 7,427

2021-2022: 12, 803

As per the authority’s requirement, an official said, the documents should be all updated and registered for the test. “We do not have an exact study on the reason for the increase in demand for the license. However, the authority is trying its best to facilitate the applicants and provide licenses.”

A person applying for an ordinary driving license must attain 18 years and should have held a learner’s license for at least six months. Moreover, an individual must produce an introductory course certificate. “Achieve the minimum pass score set in the ‘Evaluation Form for Driving Test’ for theoretical and practical tests.”

Driving training institutes in the country have been also seeing an increased number of applicants.

Yarphel Driving School in Thimphu recorded the highest number of applicants for training between 80 and 150 individuals. “The number of applicants fluctuates in each intake. However, we witness people in hurry to obtain a license and move abroad. Yet, three months of training is mandatory for all,” said an official.

The people attending driving courses vary in each batch, most of the trainees, as per the driving institutes are youths after class 12 or university graduates.

As of December 31, 2022, BCTA has altogether issued 178,763 licenses from five regional offices and 17 base offices with 154,138 ordinary licenses and 24,625 professional driving licenses.