Chhimi Dema

The Road Safety and Transport Authority’s (RSTA) regional office in Thimphu will resume driving tests from next week, but for public learner licence holders only.

The wait continues for trainees in the driving institutes.

The driving test is now beginning after more than a month of halt.

RSTA’s chief regional transport officer, Prem P Adhikari, said that the tests would be conducted on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting next week.

Applicants will have to register online a day before the test.  He said that only about 30 individuals would undergo the test in a day.

“In view of following physical distancing norms, only a limited number of applicants will be accommodated for a test,” he said.

Prem P Adhikari said that driving test was delayed while clearing the backlog in other RSTA services.

A learner licence holder said that she had been waiting since March last year to sit the driving test. “Although I can drive confidently, I have to arrange a licence holder to travel with me.”

It is inconvenient to do so, she added.

A resident of Thimphu, Pem Lham, said that it was difficult to make arrangements to pick her children up after school without getting to drive the vehicle alone.

“It would help if RSTA conducted the driving tests sooner,” she said.

USD Driving Training Institute’s proprietor, Ugyen Singye Dorji, said that there were more than 70 trainees waiting for the driving test to resume in his institute. “Since the second lockdown, driving test wasn’t conducted for the students enrolled in the institute as well.”

According to RSTA rules and regulation, a person applying for driving licence should have held a learner’s licence for at least six months.

Gangjung Driving Centre for Excellence’s general manager, Ugyen Tshering, said that the number of trainees coming to the institutes was decreasing because the driving test has been halted.

“The trainees think that the test won’t start and some worry that they’ll forget what they’ve learned,” he said.

If the test is conducted earlier it will be better for their business, he said.  There were about 150 trainees at the institute waiting for the driving test to resume.