2021-10-16 20:07:29 –
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has promised to reopen all 93 driving test stations in the state by the end of January.
All state laboratories were closed from March 27, 2020, when Governor Tim Walz issued a home order, to May 19, 2020, when 15 laboratories were opened. Over the last seven weeks, more than 19,000 scheduled driving tests have been cancelled.
A transport bill passed this summer required the reopening of all 93 stations, returning services to pre-pandemic levels.
“We absolutely promise to reopen 100% of the test stations as soon as possible,” DPS Commissioner John Harrington told the Senate Transport and Fiscal Policy Committee last week.
Currently, 26 test stations are open. 32 stations will be open by the end of November and 41 stations will be open by the end of December.
Some of the reasons for the delay were that dozens of stations needed to renegotiate or renew their leases, and many jobs were not yet filled in the closed test stations.
Committee members said last week, especially in Greater, Minnesota, that they had made many complaints about the slow reopening of these test stations. This means a longer drive for people in rural areas of the state to renew their licenses.
“As soon as we closed them, we should have planned a process to open them,” said Senator Jeff Howe of R-Rockville. “I find it annoying that I couldn’t open them earlier than that.”
Pong Xiong, director of the DPS division of driver and vehicle services, pointed out that even before the pandemic, rural Minnesota had to travel a considerable distance to reach the test site.
However, during the pandemic, “laboratory integration only exacerbated those conditions,” Xiong said.
The Commission’s meeting also aired pandemic-related complaints about the state’s Driver’s License Examination Center.
John Haus Rahden, chairman of the Minnesota Trucks Association, said the system wasn’t as efficient as it should be. For example, a truck driver who needs to obtain or renew a commercial driver’s license must compete with a teenager who has a Class D driver’s license for exam time.
“The truck industry is facing a serious shortage of professional truck drivers, which is affecting a very difficult supply chain,” says Hausladen. “Every minute the driver sits at the test site is off the road from delivering food, medicine and essentials.”
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All Minnesota driver’s testing stations to be open by end of January Source link All Minnesota driver’s testing stations to be open by end of January