Lin­ing up for li­cences

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

The queue forms well be­fore 9am. It’s school hol­i­days, and young­sters are lin­ing up at the iHow car­a­van to qual­ify for their learn­ers driv­ing li­cence.

iHow’s Suzanne Car­pen­ter says the pop­u­lar­ity of the ser­vice for young would-be driv­ers dur­ing the hol­i­days is such that the num­ber has to be capped at 15 per day.

‘‘Nei­ther we or VTNZ can cope with more than that.’’

Adding to the queues is the fact that from the be­gin­ning of July, the price of a Learner Driv­ers Li­cence has come down.

‘‘That is a first time,’’ Suzanne ex­claims.

It’s not just for teens ei­ther; older im­mi­grants and in­ter­na­tional stu­dents also find their way to the car­a­van. Last Fri­day at Mil­son in ad­di­tion to Kiwi kids, were ap­pli­cants from In­dia, Chile and Tai­wan. To cope, the car­a­van that al­ter­nates be­tween the Mil­son and High­bury shop­ping cen­tres four days a week, has dou­bled the num­ber of tu­tors dur­ing the hol­i­days.

‘‘We have just com­pleted our an­nual sta­tis­tics and have had over 1437 passes in the last 12 months. That’s an av­er­age of 7.3, I think, per day. We do not know of any or­gan­i­sa­tion in New Zealand that pro­cesses that many li­cences – and we’re only work­ing four days a week.’’

iHow is ne­go­ti­at­ing to start a sim­i­lar op­er­a­tion in Welling­ton.

‘‘No-one else is of­fer­ing a com­pa­ra­ble ser­vice.’’

Dur­ing the school term, the car­a­van at­tracts van loads of young peo­ple from from Levin, Pahiatua, Dan­nevirke and from other out-of-town schools and or­gan­i­sa­tions.

‘‘We are now charg­ing a $20 teach­ing and ad­min fee which is still cheaper than buy­ing a $26 copy of the Road Code.’’

All passers get a set of L plates and in­for­ma­tion to help them on their way to a Re­stricted Li­cence.

The main prob­lem is hav­ing to send can­di­dates away to get the right iden­ti­fi­ca­tion – tricky if they’ve been brought in from Dan­nevirke. Since De­cem­ber this re­quires a birth cer­tifi­cate and a photo ID.

The iHow car­a­van op­er­ates from 9am Tues­days and Fri­days at Mil­son, and Wed­nes­days and Thurs­days at High­bury.

‘‘We have had over 1437 passes in the last 12 months.’’

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIR­FAX NZ

De­spite the chilly morn­ing, young wannabe driv­ers wait for class to start at the Mil­son shop­ping cen­tre on Fri­day.

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