Sunday, October 24, 2010
Car Registration Revisited
Today was the expiration date of the registration our SUV, the vehicle mainly driven by my wife. Having just gone through the process of renewal on my Jeep, I felt like I was an old hand at the process. The mistake that I made was to assume that things would remain the same from last August when I was last there.
First of all, I was planning on going after work but on the advice of a co-worker, went around lunchtime. While I don't know what the night-time crowd is like, it was crazy at daytime. All five lanes were packed. I suppose that I have to remember that the last time I went was Ramadan so people were sleeping in the daytime then.
Also, the procedure defied logic. As I pulled up, there were five long lines of cars waiting to get the inspection done. People were just pulling into the line and going inside to pay for the inspection. This time, thinking I knew the routine, I did the same, but the man at the counter wouldn't let me pay for the inspection. Instead, he insisted that I take a number. Last August when I took the number, they told me I didn't need one. This time they wouldn't let pay the 120 dirhams until I took one and waited for about 20 minutes. There was no line to pay for the inspection, only a line of cars to get one. In the meantime, my car was in a line of cars.
It seemed that I wasn't the only person in this predicament. A few people kept going into the building to check on the progress of their number, coming out to move their car a few feet, then going back in to check on the number. People who weren't in their car when the line of car moved, had cars pulling in front of them. The whole scene was chaos with cars moving from line to line to get a better position as spaces opened up.
Presumably, the system is set up for people to park their car, go inside to get a number, wait 20 minutes until that number is called, then go outside to get their car in line for the inspection and wait for another 30 minutes. The problem is that once you realize that is how the system is set up, your car is already in line outside and you can't get out of the line because there are cars behind blocking the exit.
After the inspection, I had to take the receipt inside to get a paper saying the vehicle had passed. Then, I had to take another number to wait for another 20 minutes to show my proof of insurance, the vehicle inspection paper, and 100 additional dirham. That was all it took.
I would recommend to anyone getting a car inspection to renew the car registration in Abu Dhabi to go with someone. One person gets the car in line and stays in the car while the other brings the car registration card and 120 dirham into the building, takes a number, waits inside and brings the receipt out to the driver who should be just about ready to get the inspection. At least that is what should work this week. Who knows about what will work next week.