Testing times in Scottsville

2010-01-11 00:00

TAKE a drive through Scottsville and you are almost guaranteed at some point to be stuck behind a learner driver. The Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI) has 82 registered driving schools in the Pietermaritzburg area.

If they all have only one instructor doing four lessons a day, Scottsville is bombarded with at leats 328 lessons daily. Co-owner of Delta Driving School Linda van Staden says that there is a simple explanation.

“Scottsville is the area that the RTI take people through for their driver’s test. They have a number of routes that they use, so we like to teach on these routes,” she said.

Van Staden said that while they pick up their learner drivers from all over the city, they eventually move to the examination routes in Scottsville.

“We try to keep out of peak hours and only travel the roads from about 9 am onwards. I understand that it is frustrating and I know that not all driving schools stay out of peak hours,” she said.

Delta has three Code 08 and three Code 10 instructors who average five lessons a day.

Ramesh Ramlakan from Maritzburg City driving school agreed.

“It is the area where the exams are done. We try not to use peak hours,” he said, adding that they have just one instructor, who averages four to five lessons a day.

Director of RTI John Schnell said that test routes are registered with the Department of Transport (DoT).

“They [routes] are refreshed from time to time, but they need to meet the criteria of DoT. They were last revised in the middle of last year because they had become stale,” he said.

Schnell said it makes sense that the driving schools should use the same routes that are used for the driving exam.

Asked if the route would ever be moved to another suburb, Schnell said it would be impractical as the test has to be completed in an allocated time.

“It stands to reason then that the route needs to be in close proximity to the testing grounds,” he said.

Of course, said Schnell, there is always the option of lengthening the test, thereby letting loose the grinding gears of learner drivers on Montrose and Northdale.

“But that would mean we would test fewer drivers, which would put a strain on an already overloaded system.

“I will leave the solution up to you,” said Schnell.

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