Wednesday, December 11, 2013

LTO Bureaucracy 4: Renewing a Driver's License, circa 2013

I noticed only recently that my driver's license has already expired, in October this year. So this afternoon, I went to the Land Transportation Office (LTO) satellite office at the Ayala MRT station in Makati. I entered around 2:25pm, got my license and left at 3:58pm or total of 1:33 waiting time. This is longer than my previous experiences in the same office six years and three years ago. A driver's license expires every three years.

Six procedures, not four as the diagram at the LTO office would depict.

1. Show your soon expiring or expired license at Window 1, they will give you a license renewal form, instruct you to undergo a "medical exam".
2. Go to the next room, pay P100, and go through a "medical exam."
3. Go back to Window 1 and submit the filled up renewal form plus the certificate that you have passed the medical exam.
4. Have your photo taken plus give your electronic signature, Window 2.
5. Pay at Cashier, Window 4.
6. Get your new license, Window 3.
The "medical exam/test", you enter a small room, they get your weight, height, asks your normal blood pressure (no actual BP measurement is taken), asks you to read one line of those small random letters with your right eye close, then with the left eye close, and it's done, you have "passed" the medical test, done in 1-2 minutes. Done by J n W Drug Testing Center.

A summary of my experience in renewing a driver's license at LTO, Ayala MRT station office.

Six years ago, October 2007:
Total time spent: 55 minutes
Total fees paid: P350 + P277.63 = P627.63
Drug test fee 250 + medical test 100 = P350
License fee 180 + computerization fee 67.63 + revision of records fee (changed my address) 30 = P277.63

Three years ago, October 2010:
Total time spent: 1:20 hour
Total payment: P817.63
composed of: License fee 350, Computer fee P 67.63, drug test fee P300.00, Medical fee P100.00

December 2013:
Total time spent: 1:33 hour
Total payment: P592.63
composed of: Medical fee P100 License fee 350 + Computerization fee 67.63 + penalty for late renewal 75

So, over the past six years, there is one improvement, they removed the drug testing procedure and payment of P300. But the waiting time remains high, more than one hour. With continued technological development almost anywhere, things should have been faster.

The aircon was pathetic. One should sit at the inner seats, away from the door, to feel the "con", otherwise, it's just hot air near the door.

Government is really slow, at adapting to changes, if changing at all. That computer fee should be abolished. Even grade schoolers now use computers and laptops in their schools, how much more with a huge government agency like DOTC and LTO.

I heard that in Singapore, a driver's license is for a lifetime. It is only removed or cancelled if the driver gets involved in a serious accident and it was the driver's fault, or the driver has committed repeated violations of certain traffic rules.

We should adopt the same practice here. But given the generally corrupt culture in the government, it is not going to happen soon.

See also:
LTO Bureaucracy 1: Hidden Costs in Vehicle Registration, May 04, 2010
LTO Bureaucracy 2: Renewing a Driver's License, October 26, 2010 

LTO Bureaucracy 3: Endless Fines and Penalties, November 02, 2011

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