Muscat – Paying driving instructors extra on the day of a test and, in particular, on passing was a common practice. The extra was to compensate for the time the instructor lost waiting for his/her student’s turn for the test or, in the case of succeeding, in celebration.
Now, however, instructors are demanding RO35 to RO40 on test days, and up to RO50 from students who pass. Nobody knows who set the system but it’s holding learners to ransom.
“I am troubled by how and why they charge RO35 even when you fail a driving test. It is high time the authorities intervened because instructors are taking advantage of the situation.
Paying extra after passing or to compensate for the lost hours waiting for their students to give the test is understandable, but RO35-RO40 even when you fail is unacceptable. Who set this price?” asked Saada al Nu’amani, a businesswoman based in Al Khuwayr.
Earlier, instructors asked for a reasonable amount – RO10 – from students who passed. Now, with RO35-RO40 demanded even after failing a test, the whole process of getting a driving licence has become an expensive affair.
“I don’t see any sense in this system and appeal to the authorities to look into it. Having to pay such a high amount after failing is like paying for the failure,” said Saeed al Abri, who is currently taking driving lessons.
“Royal Oman Police only charges RO5 as booking fee for the test but instructors charge a minimum of RO35 just to take their students to the test in their cars for less than ten minutes. When I asked why I need to pay after failing, instructors didn’t have a valid reason, claiming it’s just how everyone else does it. Something has to be done about this,” Abri added.
Saying that he understands the amount being charged is “on the higher side”, driving instructor Mishal Salim al Rahbi reasoned it was due to COVID-19. “The pandemic has been tough for all of us. I personally, like many of my colleagues, try to reduce the charges sometimes. However, we also have expenses, mainly petrol price which has gone up. Additionally, there are insurance costs, which are high for us, and frequent car works that need to be done because of daily wear and tear.”
Maher al Barwani, another driving instructor, claimed he “would be happy to lower the rates of driving tests, but unfortunately there are so many factors to be considered”.
In his estimation, the cost of insurance for driving school vehicles has more than doubled compared to private vehicles. “Also, there are different government fees that we have to pay. And on the day of the test, we spend time waiting for our student’s turn to give the test. In doing so, we lose actual instruction time. So, with these issues, I believe RO30-RO40 is reasonable.
“Another issue is that each instructor is allowed only two tests per week. If we are allowed more than that, we would probably reduce the amount knowing that we can earn more as more tests are slotted for us,” Barwani said.
He informed that individual instructors fix the amount and that no authority is involved in this.