…𝑨 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒂𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒑 𝒕𝒐 𝒆𝒏𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒖𝒏𝒊𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒎𝒊𝒕𝒚 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒂𝒊𝒏𝒕𝒂𝒊𝒏 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒔𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒏𝒕 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒅𝒓𝒊𝒗𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒕𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒔 𝒂𝒄𝒓𝒐𝒔𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏
Bhutan Construction and Transport Authority (BCTA) has instructed all driving schools in the country to conduct their driving tests at the BCTA premises driving box range, starting this month, July 1. This initiative aims to standardize and ensure uniformity in driving tests.
The decision comes as a proactive step to ensure uniformity and maintain consistent standards for driving tests across the nation. Speaking about the initiative, a BCTA official stated, “When driving tests take place at different institutes, we face challenges in ensuring uniform safety standards and maintaining quality. Centralizing the tests at BCTA will eliminate these disparities and ensure fairness for all candidates.”
“Some officials from driving schools have mentioned that the BCTA previously instructed them to set up their driving practice and test grounds according to specific requirements. Additionally, they were asked to provide one canopy and one toilet for the learners to meet the set criteria, which incurred significant costs. They appreciate the idea of conducting tests at BCTA premises for uniformity. However, they suggest that BCTA should also improve their standards by providing canopies for driving candidates, especially during sunny and rainy days, just like the schools were asked to do.”
Dawa Tshering, the proprietor of Karsel Dawa Driving School, acknowledged the decision but expressed concerns about the investment made in developing a quality driving test ground. “We have invested over six hundred thousand to meet BCTA’s requirements. We hope they consider our efforts,” he said.
On the other hand, Kesang P Jigmee, the proprietor of Kesang Driving School welcomed BCTA’s decision, highlighting its potential to eradicate unhealthy practices in the testing process. “Conducting driving tests on BCTA premises is a commendable step towards ensuring an impartial evaluation for all driving candidates. It strengthens the integrity of our driving test system,” he expressed. The decision is also seen as more convenient for driving learners, who will no longer need to travel long distances to different driving school grounds for tests.
Moreover, Kesang expressed concerns about the absence of proper guidelines and formats for driving tests conducted by BCTA. BCTA emphasizes the importance of prioritizing box tests over highway driving tests. “I belive that having tests on the road, instead of concentrating more on box tests will play crucial for producting skilled drivers. The driving testing system should be designed with proper formats to ensure the development of competent drivers”, added Kesang.
An official from Karma Driving Training Institute expressed support for the idea of uniformity among all driving schools. However, they also urged the authorities to consider the concerns of private firms if they want to promote and support them.
Karma from Trashiyangtse, currently working in Thimphu, stated, “Presently, BCTA focuses more on box tests and hardly conducts any highway tests. This contributes to drivers lacking confidence and knowledge, leading to road hassles.”
Chimi, a recent graduate student, shared her experience, saying, “While it’s good that BCTA conducts tests on their premises, I believe they should also focus on highway driving evaluations, as it is crucial for all new learners and drivers. During my test, I was never evaluated on highway driving skills, and this is concerning.”
Addressing these concerns, BCTA has clarified that their requirements include an online written or oral test for all categories, including two-wheelers and, moreover, for light vehicles, candidates are marked along with a 5-point turn test and a highway evaluation.
For two-wheelers, candidates are required to undergo a balancing (three-stone) test and a one-hand drive assessment.
Despite varying opinions, many individuals have praised the convenience of conducting driving tests at the BCTA premises. 29-year-old Sonam Choden expressed her support, stating, “RSTA’s decision to conduct driving tests on their premises ensures a fair and transparent evaluation process. Moreover, it is convenient for us since we no longer have to travel long distances for the test, saving unnecessary expenses.”
Kuenzang Pelden, a young individual who relies on her parents for transportation, appreciated the convenience aspect as well. Nevertheless, she also pointed out the lack of adequate facilities, like the absence of restrooms and nearby restaurants, during her driving test last year at Ramtokto.
BCTA conducts driving tests every Monday to Friday for both the general public and driving schools. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, the tests are open to the public. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the driving tests are exclusively reserved for driving schools. This schedule allows for efficient testing and ensures accessibility for all aspiring drivers.