Limassol driving instructors announced on Wednesday they would go on a two-hour work stoppage next week to protest over the long waiting lists for driving tests.
The group said that at the moment, learner drivers have to wait up to five months to take the driving test and if they fail that test, they have to wait up to a year for another test.
The problem, according to representative of the group, Kokos Protopapas, is that currently, there are three, instead of six examiners at the competent service of the road transport department in Limassol while at the same time, in Paphos there is an excess number of staff with an examiner’s licence who do not have enough work.
The driving instructors will gather on Monday outside the Limassol road transport department at 7.20am, along with affected learner drivers. They said that the protest will not affect any scheduled driving tests for that day.
Protopapas said that they discussed the problem with the new transport minister who had given reassurances that she would take the necessary measures, but nothing had been done.
“Does the minister, want on purpose to let illegal drivers out on the streets?” Protopapas said, adding that this will be inevitable as, learner drivers who wait for too long for their test, will eventually take their car out for a drive.
The problem is expected to intensify in the summer, he said, when high-school graduates but also students returning home from abroad, want to get tested to acquire a driver’s licence.
“We are asking that the number of examiners is increased so that the waiting time for driver tests does not exceed two months,” he said.
Another driving instructor, Simos Koufallis, said that they had submitted four proposals since last April but that there was no response from the government.
He said that there are around 70 to 80 driving schools in Limassol, with around 20 students each, but, on average, only 14 learner drivers get tested daily. This does not include many others who are waiting to get tested for a professional drivers’ licence, he said.
Koufallis said that they have no issue with the examiners in Limassol, as the “solutions need to come from Nicosia”.