The city has taken steps to significantly improve the experience for Oahu customers seeking a commercial driver license (CDL).
Oahu’s new Commercial Driver Licensing Center opened its doors today, Monday, Feb. 25, with a press conference and blessing at a newly-renovated state building located at 897 Second St. in Pearl City. Previously, since 1996, the CDL center was operating from a small trailer office in Halawa, across from Aloha Stadium.
“This administration is dedicated to improving customer service and shortening wait times, and this new CDL facility is just another example of trying something new,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “The collaboration with Governor David Ige’s administration made this new building a reality, and I want to thank him for working with the city for the benefit of Oahu residents.”
The new facility offers customers 32 dedicated covered parking stalls and is operating within a 4,000-square-foot space, almost three times the size of the old Halawa trailer. In addition, the lot used for CDL road skill testing is now located adjacent to the CDL center in Pearl City. Previously, road tests were conducted on a lot in Kāne‘ohe on the Windward side of the island.
“We thank the HDOT for working with us to provide these brand new facilities to meet CDL demand across Oahu,” said Customer Services Director Sheri Kajiwara. “Having this larger facility encourages us to creatively think of more ways to improve our service offerings to the public.”
Due to a robbery incident in 2017 that left staff shaken, the CDL operation was temporarily moved within the main Driver Licensing Center at Kapalama Hale until the state completed the Pearl City renovations.
In 2018, the city performed nearly 1,000 commercial driver licensing skills tests and issued more than 800 commercial driver licenses, among other services, based on CDL rules put in place by the state Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
There are three main types of commercial driver licenses: Class A, Class B and Class C, which are required for all businesses and agencies that use drivers of large vehicles, such as tour companies, trucking businesses, hauling services, city buses, and even U.S. postal service mail carriers. The class is based on vehicle weight or passenger count.
“Hawaii’s trucking and tour vehicle companies say mahalo to the city and state for responding to our concerns about long waits to get our drivers licensed,” said Gareth Sakakida, managing director of the Hawai‘i Transportation Association. “Our high quality of living is dependent on a healthy trucking and tour vehicle industry, so shortening licensing wait times and providing efficient facilities like this one in Pearl City goes a long way to getting safe, qualified drivers on the road and making deliveries on time.”
Business hours at the new CDL facility are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.