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XXX Restricted Access @ MyQueenstown #9 - Former Queenstown Driving Test Centre

By my queenstown on Sunday, December 12, 2010 with 1 comment

Rows of "L" plate Morris Minor cars used to line up in front of BLK 27A in the 1970s and 1980s. Young frantic drivers would browse through the booklet of Highway Codes at the void deck and memorise every single street signs in preparation for their driving tests. The instructors were nastier in the past and it was inevitable that learner drivers often got abused "verbally" by them (You still get nasty instructors who bark at you in SAF Driving Centre). There were two driving test centres in Singapore. One was located at Maxwell Road. The other was the Queenstown Driving Test Centre, located next to the MRT Station.

Rows of L plated Cars along Commonwealth Avenue

Queenstown Driving Test Centre was officially unveiled by then Minister for Communications Yong Nyuk Lin, who was once the community leader at Queenstown, on 23 February 1969. The driving test centre was built to alleviate the overwhelming demand at Maxwell. Furthermore, the equipment and facilities at Maxwell was inadequate for bigger vehicles. Hence, a new facility was constructed at Queenstown Driving Test Centre for Class 1 and 2 vehicles.

First Female to Complete the Course to Drive a Bus

Unlike the theory test conducted in driving centres today, candidates had to move a miniature sized car on a "street" model in response to questions asked by the tester. For instance, if the tester asked the the candidate the proper procedure of stopping the car at pedestrian crossings, the candidate had to manually "slow" down the speed of the car before the pedestrian crossing. Candidates were given two dates for their theory tests.

A copy of Highway Code booklet

A copy of the Provisional Driving License Taken in Queenstown Driving Test Centre

After obtaining the PDL, instructors were not free to bring learner drivers around Queenstown Driving Centre to practise. Some instructors would bring the drivers to as far as Lorong Halwa to practise parking with wooden poles as guide posts or Rumah Bomba Circus to practise driving through a roundabout. The practical test was held within the Queenstown Driving Test Centre premises. Similar to test conditions today, parallel parking, emergency brakings are among items being tested.

Rows of Cars Parked at the Driving Centre along Commonwealth Avenue

L-plated cars weaving in and out of traffic, just like what you see in Bukit Batok or Yio Chu Kang today

Cars waiting along the road, picking up learner drivers

Shed for Vehicle Parking 

The standard of the driving tests are as rigorous as those today. The instructors are "kinder" and more "polite." What had probably changed is the improvements in facilities used for training learner drivers and cars used in these training sessions. In the 1990s, Queenstown Driving Centre was not huge enough to cater to the needs of a growing number of young Singaporeans who are eager to learn driving. A few other driving centres were constructed in the West and in the North to cater to the younger population there.


Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre (taken from the Police Website)

The Driving Test Centre vacated the premises and Queenstown Neighbourhood Police Centre took over the building in 1997. The Neighbourhood Police Centre was a pioneer in Singapore to enforce the Police with greater autonomy and better understanding on local issues. It moved to a new premise at Alexandra Road in 2005.

Before Renovation


Renovation to convert the Building for Offices

Today, the driving test centre building is being renovated and tendered for private offices because of the scarcity in office space in premium locations within the Central Business District. The King Institute of Technology Pte Ltd is currently leasing the space for commercial school purposes at $27,000 per month until December 2011.


Category: Places , recent , Restricted Access

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1 comments:

Anonymous said...
December 13, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Another interesting read. Well done ! Look forward to the next update, which jogs our nostalgic memories.

Jimmy

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