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