Getting a learner’s driving license is not a headache any more for most of westcoast residents.
The new building of the Andheri RTO, which was inaugurated recently, offer a host of facilities, apart from making the job of procuring a learner’s license surprisingly easy.
This is a welcome change from the way things used to function in the previous RTO. “The quick, computerised system of giving out a learner’s license could not be implemented properly due to lack of proper infrastructure,” says Pradip Shinde, deputy RTO of Andheri RTO. The multiple windows for getting a license left ample scope for ambiguity and confusion. As a result, getting a license used to be a lengthy and troublesome procedure, especially for senior citizens.
The swanky new RTO office, which stands on an area of 75,000 sq ft, started the single window learner’s license system. Malad resident Prachi Abhyankar, who came to get her learner’s license, could not be happier with the services. “The entire process just took me an hour. From getting the slip to getting my documents verified and going through the computerised test, the process was smooth and well-managed,” said Abhyankar.
The exam that every applicant has to appear for is conducted in batches of 50 applicants. It is a computerised test, conducted with the help of a projector, where 20 questions related to basic road and driving signs and symbols flash on a screen. The applicant, with the help of a machine fitted on the chair, can choose any of the four answer options. The correct answer is displayed immediately after in order to help the applicants know if they have given the correct answer. “Out of the 20 questions, the applicant has to answer at least 12 questions correctly. The best part is that there is no human intervention in the hall. The rules and regulations are explained to the applicants and their names are called out before the commencement of the test,” said Shinde.
The RTO office has set a target of issuing 400 licenses every day, after which the system shuts down. There are designated corners for verification of documents, for taking biometric details such as thumb impression. There are charts displaying common road and driving signs, which the applicant can revise before appearing for the exam.
“The best part is that there are adequate facilities. There are two waiting halls, one for men and the other for senior citizens and women. Sufficient chairs and notepads are provided to the applicants. Boards displaying the signs have also been put up, so that we can revise before the test,” said Sohom Bhattacharya, Goregoan resident.
According to Shinde, a proper test track, fitted with cameras, is also underway, which will be used for driving tests for applicants looking to get permanent licenses. Dereyk Talker, a Bandra-based activist, points out, “I think it would be great if they could make centres in different parts of the Western suburbs for us to procure learner’s license.”
“The Andheri RTO generates so much revenue. People pay their taxes here. So, a proper infrastructure was long due. After we started operating in this new building, our responsibilities have gone up as we need to meet the expectations better,” added Shinde.