Graduating students without a drivers licence face roadblocks when searching for work in field

The affordability and accessibility of Vancouver transit minimizes the need for a drivers licence

After graduating many students are struggling to find employment if they do not have a drivers licence. Photo by Gina Rogers
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Reported by Gina Rogers

Graduating students often do not have a driver’s licence due to the high cost of driving and this is negatively affecting their employment opportunities, even for non-driving related jobs.

Langara student, Sumeet Gupta, said, “I’d rather use transit because it’s so expensive. I just purchased my insurance a few weeks ago. It went up by almost a thousand dollars and I was scared.”

U-pass may discourage students from getting their licence

The Mercer Cost of Living survey ranked Vancouver the most expensive Canadian city this year. The average student in B.C. graduates with debt, linked to rising costs of living in the province. With the U-Pass B.C. student transit program, however, many South Vancouver students managed to commute to school affordably and reliably.

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia insures the 3.2 million Canadians who are required to have basic coverage through them. In September ICBC reduced their subsidies for rates on new drivers. Joanna Linsangan, a communications specialist with ICBC, said, “the old model wasn’t fair”, to those who had, “taken the steps to get proper training to be a safe driver.” As a result of these changes many young drivers have seen an increase in their premiums. “We understand that it can certainly be a challenge for anybody who’s just starting out,” Linsangan said.

ICBC premiums raised for many new drivers

Driving schools represent an additional investment of over $1,200 in the case of one instructor, Ahad Vakili. Vakili teaches At the West End Driving School in Vancouver and said that he has seen a drop in driving students since 2003 when ICBC regulations changed to no longer allow a learners knowledge test and behind the wheel test to be within a day of each other. Vakili said, “if the youth wants to get their licence it takes three years… it’s a slowdown of the system.”

Adding another financial barrier for students entering job markets has adverse effects for Langara College and other educational institutions pressed to come up with employment statistics.

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