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State expands drivers road test hours to reduce wait times

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says more than 3,000 weekend appointments will be added from Nov. 2 through the end of the year.

ST PAUL, Minn. — There appears to be some relief on the way for Minnesotans fed up with long wait times to take their drivers road tests. 

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicles Services division (DPS-DVS) announced Monday that the state will be adding more than 3,000 weekend appointments to the list of available testing slots beginning November 2, and lasting until at least the end of the year.  

The announcement follows a KARE 11 investigation that found long lines, endless frustration and even some people sleeping in their cars in an effort to secure a drivers road test at the main metro testing stations. In late September online appointments were already booked out until January.

“We are committed to serving Minnesotans and meeting their expectations,” DPS Commissioner John Harrington said. “That means taking a closer look at the way DVS exam stations operate and making necessary changes to ensure road test appointments are available within a reasonable amount of time, at a convenient location for those who need them.”

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The three DVS metro exam stations in Arden Hills, Eagan and Plymouth will be open both Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. from Nov. 2 to Dec. 22, in addition to regular Monday through Friday hours. The extended weekend hours are dedicated to Class D (standard) road tests, with no other services available during these hours.

The additional weekend appointments are now available for scheduling. Weekend appointments are only available at the Arden Hills, Eagan and Plymouth exam stations.

The quickest and easiest way to schedule an appointment is by making an online reservation on the state website.

  • Select Schedule or Reschedule an Exam under the Driver Services section.
  • You will need your Minnesota driver’s license or permit number, and date of birth.
  • You can only schedule one appointment at a time.
  • If you already have a road test appointment in your name, it will be cancelled when you schedule a new appointment.

The extended hours will provide 3,240 Class D road test appointments through the end of 2019, in addition to the current 2,860 road test appointments scheduled every week at exam stations statewide.

DPS-DVS will evaluate weekend appointments in December and determine if the program will continue and under what conditions.

Weekend hours will not be available the following holiday weekends:

  • Nov. 9-11 (Veterans Day)
  • Nov. 28-Dec. 1 (Thanksgiving)

During our investigation KARE 11 also uncovered a little known system that allows some to skip the line by paying extra to select driving schools which have “standing appointments” thanks to special arrangements with the state Driver and Vehicle Services. In mid-October Senate Transportation Finance and Policy Committee Chair Scott Newman (R-Hutchinson) promised hearings would be held regarding that practice, and the overall operations of the drivers testing program. 

RELATED: KARE 11 Investigates: Skip the line? Lawmaker questions ‘unfair’ driving test system