Okay the title of this post is a little strong for the subject I want to blog about. Haha. But if you have been following my blog, I listed my 2016 goals at the start of the year and one of them is to learn and pass driving. I procrastinated for a couple of months and finally decided to go for it! 🙂 But I was faced with numerous obstacles that I’m doubting my decision.
Last weekend I went down to CDC (Comfort Driving Center) to apply for my PDL (Provisional Driving License) while deciding if I should take school or private courses, and go with auto or manual car. That gave me 4 combinations to mull about. After discussing with Dennis, I decided to go with private instructor, learning manual car.
Private instructor costs less and manual car because it was a more ‘recognised’ license globally. I found an instructor and was scheduled to start this week. But my colleagues strongly persuaded me to rethink my decision because (A) learning manual car is very difficult for ladies (very sexist there!! :() and (B) most private lessons are less structured and not as easy to grasp. With new inputs, I discussed with Dennis at length on the pros and cons and finally decided to go with school courses learning auto! Or so I thought…
The enrolment process itself is super tedious for me. Just to clarify, I’m sure this only applies for me!! Somehow the stars are always not aligned and every action I take is sure to create more obstacles! 😦
This seemingly hassle-free process turned out to be a nightmare!
- Online payment page never seemed to load properly. When it finally does, d2pay (DBS payment platform) is under maintenance.
- My account got locked at least 3 times and I’m sure the customer service office who received my emails got tired of resetting my account.
I decided to make a trip down to CDC to sort it once and for all. But when I was there, I was convinced by the counter lady to take manual lessons!!
- Manual lessons costs the same (per lesson) as auto lessons. But overall you might need to take 4-5 lessons more to cover the techniques to drive a manual car.
- Since it is a lifelong skill, why be half-hearted and learn auto? Might as well cover everything in manual.
- Auto licenses are not recognised in some countries including European countries and I *might* want to drive there on a road trip.
- The passing rate of manual and auto is about the same. Auto is easier to learn but it does not mean easier to pass (I.e. Attain a license).
I guess these 4 points were good enough reasons to convince me.
Janice (the very friendly counter lady) settled the paperwork for me as well as booked:
- Induction course
- 4 e-trial sessions for FTT (Final Theory Test) but school learners are actually entitled to 6 so you can register for more if you’re not confident
As I was about to make payment, there was a slight drama scene because one man barged into the center and demanded to make payment however the system was already closed for private learners. He made a big fuss and shouted while pointing at me (??) until the manager finally got him to leave.
Anyhow, on with payment. You actually need to maintain an account with the school ($10 refundable deposit) and have sufficient balance in your account so that you can start booking your lessons and test slots.
My initial deposit was $1,000 as recommended by Janice was broken down into:
$10 refundable deposit
$165.85 school enrolment fees
$34.24 induction course
So I’m left with a balance of $783.41 which I can use to book practical lessons and other tests. Additionally, you will also incur $25 to apply for PDL which is valid for 6 months. Note that you can only book practical lessons that fall after your induction course.
I happily left CDC thinking that I finally made the decision and act on it! 😀
The next morning when I looked through the receipts and entered the dates into my calendar, I realized that Janice has booked the wrong date for me for induction course!!
Oh my goodness are these hurdles never gonna end??!
Called CDC and informed that Janice booked the wrong date for me and I need to have it changed. She replied that she “cannot take my word for it that it was their mistake”. What??! She requested me to drop an email and she will check with Janice when she came to work in the afternoon shift.
I was literally on the verge of giving up this whole idea because I can only imagine the fate after! 😦 so many issues even before I start!
Contrary to popular belief, CDC’s customer service is surprisingly good! Not only did they reply emails promptly, but also tried calling me twice to inform me that the date has been changed. I did not answer their calls as I was in a meeting. I quickly responded to their email that I have acknowledged the changed date in the online booking portal as well and thank them for their help. #thumbsupCDC
Phew, what a long story on the start of my learning journey. Better days are ahead! 😉