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With a huge backlog of people wanting their driver licences renewed, and with an eye on improving road skills, the Phuket Provincial Land Transport Office (PLTO) is farming out driving tests to a private driving school, the Chotima Driving School on Phra Phuket Kaew Rd.
The new system is part of a national initiative to reorganise and improve driving skills and driving tests while at the same time reducing the burden on PLTO staff.
As of Monday (January 5) all applicants for driving tests must be able to show that they have taken some form of classroom and practical training in how to drive. Failing this, they will not be allowed to register to take the test.
Learner drivers are now able to take lessons and then also take the test at the Chotima School. The test will be identical to the one set at the PLTO. If they pass, they can then take the certificate issued by Chotima to the PLTO and receive their shiny new license.
Learner drivers can also do classroom and practical training in driving at four of the island’s colleges: Rajabhat University, the Polytechnic College, the Technical College, Thalang Technical College, and the Skill Development Centre.
But they will not get the full certificate entitling them to a license.
Instead, after four hours of training they will get a “proof of completion” document which they can take to the PLTO and apply for a license. Unlike graduates of the Chotima School they must still take the driving test at the PLTO.
By farming out the tests, the PLTO staff are now able to reduce the time they spend on new drivers from five days a week to three, giving them more time to work on the backlog of renewals.
Jaturong Kaewkasi, the PLTO’s Chief Adviser, told The Phuket News, “We want to increase the number of renewals we handle each day from 50 to 100.”
He added, “This is a national initiative of the Transportation Department because the Department wants people to be trained, to learn and to practice before getting licences.”
Now, anyone wanting to take the driving test at the PLTO must be there for registration between 8 and 9am on Monday, Thursday or Friday. Only 70 people will be processed per day. The test takes two full days to complete.
Registration for licence renewals is open from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 1pm. Currently, no more than 50 people a day will be registered.
For more information contact the PLTO at 076-214 930. For the Chotima School call 076 612 661 or visit facebook.com/chotimadrivingschool