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Posted On: 24 July 2013 01:48 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:13 pm

Licence curbs hit driving schools

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Driving schools have recorded a significant drop in revenues while the ambiguity surrounding the implementation of a new policy denying driving licences to some categories of expatriate workers continues, reliable sources have said. An employee of one school told Gulf Times that they had failed to meet their average target of QR80,000 to QR100,000 per day after new applications are either right away rejected or applicants awaited the green signal from the Traffic Department. He admitted that the revenue had dropped to as high as 50% compared with the same period last month. With some categories of expatriate workers becoming ineligible to get licences, the source said the number of their customers had been decreasing by day. This was evident in many theory classes in most schools. From 20-25 students in the recent past, only about eight attend a session now. If the companies running the driving schools continue to lose customers, the employee said his colleagues feared a possible retrenchment and demotion of some as a cost-cutting measure. He also expected a rise in fees in future. Citing the absence of an official list, which gave a clear picture of the eligible candidates, he said they were having a hard time in identifying the categories. Those whom they advised to seek the Traffic Department’s approval have not returned to them. One employee of another driving school noted that some terminologies used on an “unofficial list” earlier released were “too broad” like “labourer”, “steward” and “sales”. Some driving schools are not allowing flight attendants to enroll since they fall under the “steward” category. On the other hand, some labourers who have a different designation in their Qatar IDs were allowed to secure licences. “In our case we allow them to enrol but some flight attendants and cabin crew have to seek the Traffic Department’s approval,” she added. “Some schools accept secretaries while others do not.” Three schools in Doha confirmed that they all accepted journalists but were not sure if photographers were eligible. But one employee believed that they might be allowed to secure licences because of the nature of their job. “We hope that they will come up with a specific and detailed list of eligible and non-eligible applicants soon to avoid any confusion,” she said. Asked about their revenues, she disclosed it had dropped to more than 20% although she refused to give details. “Obviously, all of us are affected but we have to follow the decision.” Some schools have even come up with marketing strategies to get as many customers as possible. One staff said they would often ask for referrals from new and eligible candidates. They also keep a roster of those who were not allowed by the Traffic Department which they can use in the future. According to an unofficial list released earlier, those who are eligible include sales representatives, accountants, administrators, representatives, sales supervisors, receptionists, clearance agents and fitness trainers. Also, professionals like doctors, engineers, pilots, architects and lawyers will find no problem in getting a licence. However, people who work as clerks, stewards, cashiers, salesmen, foremen, tailors, blacksmiths, masons, cooks, carpenters, plumbers, painters, electricians, mechanics, computer technicians, waiters, barbers, beauty saloon workers, store keepers, photographers and secretaries will not be issued driving licences, it is learnt. “They told us there will be some changes,” the source said. According to a senior transport official, the present curbs on new driving licences are a temporary measure and once the traffic situation improved with the construction of new roads and intersections, the restrictions could be lifted.