Monday, July 15, 2024
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Toronto suspends DRVRhub online training pending audit, investigation of complaints

Although Toronto released a statement saying DRVRhub training has been suspended, and asked students not to take the program until concerns are addressed, DRVRhub’s website still says it is approved to deliver Vehicle for Hire driver training in Toronto as of July 10th. Image: DRVRhub

Toronto has suspended the completely online DRVRhub training option from its list of approved Vehicle for Hire (VFH) training organizations.

Licensing and Standards has announced it will investigate complaints the program was too easy to pass, with too much potential for cheating.

A statement provided to Taxi News by Toronto’s Media Office on July 8th reads, “Please note, the City has temporarily suspended the driver training program offered by DRVRHub, after performing an audit and identifying a number of concerns that threaten the integrity of the program. The program is currently being investigated. Please do not register for the DRVRHub driver training program as the City will no longer accept drivers who complete this program, until the training provider has addressed all concerns.”

This statement is now also posted to the City’s website, although the DRVRhub site still states that it is approved to deliver training in Toronto as of July 10th at 8am.

Taxi News has covered DRVRhub’s online training program since it was announced as an approved supplier to the Vehicle for Hire training program in June. This reporter finished the online training in 37 minutes despite making numerous mistakes. It was very simple to re-take sections of the quiz to fill in the correct answers, pass, and receive a laser-printed certificate. There is nothing to prevent a person from capturing screen shots of every question with correct answers.

In addition to being very easy to pass, at no point is a student ever required to present photo identification to prove they are who they say they are, so that one test-taker could sit in front of a computer with a list of driver’s license numbers and take the test for hundreds or thousands of people.

Ontario-certified instructors required

At no point in the DRVRhub online program does a student ever meet an Ontario-licensed driving instructor in person, and when Taxi News and at least one other student emailed questions for instructors to DRVRhub as directed, no instructor had replied in over two weeks.

DriveWise ran its first VFH training day in Toronto on June 21st. Photo: DriveWise

Both DriveWise and AMB Training, the currently approved training providers approved by the City, were required to supply Toronto with the names and licensing credentials of their instructors who work with students directly providing in-class, in-car and in-simulator training.

“We were pleased to do so,” said Lesley DeRepentigny of DriveWise Training. “Our instructors are great people, highly qualified, licensed by the Province of Ontario to train professional drivers. They are focused completely on the student, and they know what to look for in an individual who wants to drive professionally.

“So we were happy to send them our Instructor list, but we did wonder, ‘How is a completely on-line training provider doing the same thing?’ Were they required to provide their list of trainers, too?”

No instructor of any kind ever replied to emails sent by students known to Taxi News. Based upon its website content, DRVRhub appears to be located in Australia. Its Canadian office appears to be a bungalow on Brimley Road in Scarborough.

Cheryl Hawkes: “Why anyone is surprised?”

“I don’t even know why they dignify this process with the use of the word ‘audit,’” says Cheryl Hawkes, whose son Nicholas Cameron was killed in an accident with a brand-new, untrained Uber driver in 2018.

Hawkes, who has lobbied persistently for Toronto to re-instate Vehicle for Hire driver training since it was eliminated in 2016, seemed frustrated by the recent turn of events, which was completely predictable in her opinion:

“It’s like a joke, that they are surprised a completely online process isn’t suitable and won’t work. Staff were told from the very beginning by everyone involved that online-only is not enough. Centennial College dropped out of the bidding process over this very argument.

“City staff have been trying to put a square peg into a round hole this entire time, when they know fully the industry supports in-car testing with an instructor. Now, they are pretending to be surprised? What is the big mystery? Uber has a business model, and the business model is to get as many drivers as possible on the road with the least amount of work. Training interferes with that business model.

“Let’s just be clear: no amount of protesting is going to bring Nicholas back. I know that. But we could prevent another family from having to endure this.”