Residents near Kitchener DriveTest centre concerned about crowds, people coming from out of town

Big crowds and long lines at Kitchener’s DriveTest centre have nearby residents concerned about the number of people coming in from out of town.

A constant line of roughly 15 to 20 people could be seen at the Lackner Shopping Centre Plaza location on Sunday, but Maggie Brown, who lives nearby, says she’s seen them reach 40 to 70 people depending on the day.

“If you can stay within your own area [to do your driver’s test], it’s preferable,” she said.

Praneet Kauer says she travelled an hour and a half from Toronto for her first shot at her G1 test.

“I thought this was a better idea to get it from here,” she said. “There are shorter lines, in Toronto it’s more populated.”

Barb Bauman frequents the plaza and says licence plates from Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga, and other out of town locations are a common sight.

Business owners in the plaza tell CTV News they’ve noticed an increase in customers from out of town who often ask to use their bathrooms while waiting in line at the DriveTest centre.

“I’ve seen them lined up from the front door all the way to Rexall some days and blocking other businesses,” said area resident Jessie Desroches. “It’s bringing more people to our community and it worries me.

“Why are they allowing them to take tests here and spend all day here?”

The Ministry of Transportation, which operates DriveTests across Ontario, said in a statement they do no prohibit people from attending the drive-test of their choice.

“Allowing customers to choose any Drivetest centre regardless of residence, optimizes the capacity of the entire DriveTest network,” the statement reads in part. “Every centre is following safety protocols such as screening to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Desroches adds that they have seen people line up who are not wearing masks or physical distancing.

The Ministry of Transportation adds that health and safety is their top concern and they will continue to enforce strict protocols.