Getting a license to drive a truck or a bus is now taking longer

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New drivers have been trained and tested but city officials say they can't get their license because of processing delays at the DMV. (KFSN)

Fresno has hired 20 new drivers to handle its expanding bus service. They have been trained and tested but city Transportation Director Brian Marshall said they can't get their license to start picking up passengers because of processing delays at the DMV.

"It has a real big impact on us. Here it is, we hire people, we train for six to eight weeks, and then they sit they sit for another four to six weeks, not good for our operation."

Drivers, like Tre Mobley are being paid, but not on the job.

It's the same story for newly trained truck drivers. A program run by West Hills Community College is turning out drivers ready to hit the road, with jobs waiting, but it's taking weeks or months for them to take their licensing test at the DMV.

"They are ready to go four weeks after they get their permit but then they have to spend another eight or nine weeks to get an appointment," said Richard Wills, truck diving instructor.

Many in classes are getting the training to get off of public assistance.

"This is their opportunity to get out of the poverty level and take care of their families and get off the welfare rolls, and basically-- and it's been working really well, but now the thing is climbing so fast, the waiting time-- they get discouraged and they quit," said Wills.

State Assembly Member Jim Patterson of Fresno said there are 30,000 unfilled trucking jobs in California and says the DMV's delays are hurting the economy.

"The DMV is failing these individuals and they are failing them up and down the state of California. If the DMV is stubborn about this and doesn't listen we are going to pass legislation to fix this."

The DMV has a commercial licensing office in Fresno but getting an appointment takes weeks, and bus driver trainee Mobley said walking in to get tested isn't easy.

"I stood out there at 2:30 in the morning to walk in to wait in to be seated to take the test and I didn't get seen till 2 o clock in the afternoon."

In a statement to Action News the DMV said, "There is not a backlog of commercial driver license behind-the-wheel skills test appointments at the Fresno CDTC. Currently, at the Fresno CDTC appointments are available six days from today. The DMV strives to offer commercial drive test exams to our customers within 30 days of making an appointment."

The DMV has also added Saturday testing hours. However, Assembly Member Patterson's office attempted to make appointments and was told the earliest available were in March.

Both the City of Fresno and the West Hills College Truck Driving School told us the appointments typically take six to eight weeks to get.
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