The number of learners applying for a driving licence has dropped substantially since the start of Ramadan, sources from driving schools in Doha have said.
Speaking to Gulf Times, an instructor from a leading driving school noted a 65% decrease in new admissions from the first week of June onwards compared with the previous months.
“I don’t have any student from 7am to 11am, which I never experienced in the past,” he stressed. “To make myself busy, I just clean some of the cars parked in our premises.”
He added that students these days usually come in the evening between 4pm and 7pm but the numbers keep on dwindling every day.
Last year during the same period, many driving schools had seen a considerable number of applicants from morning to evening despite the low passing rate, scrapping of the short course, and the ban on more than 160 categories of expatriate workers.
A driving instructor from another school echoed this statement saying he was too busy attending to learners until the summer season. But this year, he said the “trend was surprisingly different.”
“The number started to slow down since early June and since the beginning of this month, it has been even worse, with very few new students turning up,” he said. “This was not the case in previous years.”
While driving schools consider Eid al-Fitr and summer holidays as an off peak season, the instructor pointed out that they still used to receive many enrollees during this period in the past.
About possible reasons for the decline, he believes a lot of students who failed the test have decided not to reapply and they may have also told others about the difficulty in securing a licence.
He said some residents feel it is unwise to enroll nowadays with reports of low passing rates at various driving schools, fearing that the money they paid would just be wasted. Fees range between QR2,800 and QR3,400 (for light vehicles) in the country's driving schools. The earlier rule allowing people who produce a driving licence obtained in their home countries to take a short course has been annulled. Also those who fail the test now have to join a full course as against the short course earlier.
One of the applicants who expressed his disappointment after failing his third road test recently said he still wanted to enroll again. However, he has to save another QR3,400 to pay for the full course.
An Indian national who failed his first attempt last year told Gulf Times that he spent a total of QR6,200 for two full courses in the same driving school. He was able to clear the test after completing the second course.
“They gave me a discount of QR600 so I pursued it. Having a driving licence would give me an advantage over others while looking for a job,” he said.
Some instructors at other schools disclosed that securing a driving licence in the country has been difficult as authorities are reluctant to pass students until they are qualified fully. (Source)
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