There are 22 replies in this Thread which was already clicked 4,335 times. The last Post () by Splinter.

Renewing my driving license on Friday (19th Oct)

    • Official Post

    I have to renew my driving license and have booked a slot (turno) for Friday since the license actually expires on 12th November, but I thought it prudent to try to get ahead of the game, knowing Argentine bureaucracy. In fact I had already renewed my license in April 2017 when I upgraded my motorbike category, but of course they only give you what time is already left on your existing license. Any more would be far too generous.

    Things to remember:

    Stay calm above all else and if you can't, only swear in Anglo Saxon

    Photocopy every-fucking-thing including your grandmother's (and her mother's) birth certificate. That means front and back of your DNI and driving license.

    Make sure you don't have any outstanding traffic offences. otherwise go to jail and do not collect £100.

    Be aware that once you've entered the building you become their property and the employees love nothing more than trying to catch you out on the smallest of points. Small to you, but a heinous crime to them. They live and breath this stuff, so watch your step.

    Do NOT celebrate once you've reached the finish line as this simply plays into their hands and gives them a bloated feeling of self importance they don't deserve or in fact earn. Be nonchalant and coolly deposit the license in your pocket in the knowledge that that's all it is - a fucking driving license.

    Always make eye contact - this means you#re in control and mean business.

    An update to this adventure will follow next week.

    • Official Post

    This is a pre license renewal update.

    1. Check to see if I have any outstanding traffic tickets in the municipality of Vicente Lopez, CABA (a different planet), any other Argentine province and any other known territory I may have strayed into. Check by ID card number, result none. Check by vehicle reg number, result none. Check.
    2. Take copies of existing driving license front and back x2 each (just in case). Check.
    3. Take copies of ID card (DNI) front and back x 2. Check.
    4. Ensure blood group is shown on existing license. Check.
    5. Withdraw vast amounts of worthless cash just in case the newly refurbished offices don't take cards since it's not specified on the website. When in doubt, stuff rolls of pesos down your trousers and get one jump ahead of the game. Check.
    6. Double check prices of license renewals, then allow your blood to cool down when you discover the actual costs which are hidden away specifically to fuck you. The read the costs again and try to figure out if you can choose to drive ONLY in the municipality, the province or nationally, or a delicious combination of the three (see attachment). Check.
    7. Prep a defence lawyer should you lose it in a government building.

    A full report may follow later today depending on the outcome.

    • Official Post

    I still have to renew mine, since I moved to Capital i am required to do so. However, since I do not have a car and got a license when we had to drive around a family member and for when we go on vacation in Argentina and rent a car, I am being lazy about it.

    I think the cost in Capital is about the same.

    However, these are my steps (they have added some on August 30 - WTF?!)



    • Official Post

    I managed to return home from the infernal government machine physically intact, but a little dizzy from experiencing such an efficient, yet faceless wall of we couldn't give a shit, all we want is your money apparatus.

    I was in the newly refurbished building (see where our money goes now?) for less than half an hour, although it did seem much longer in the same way that Dr Who's Tardis is infinitely large when you step into it.

    Anyway, this was my strategy and this is how it played out...

    I arrived twenty minutes early as a fail-safe and on presenting my photocopied documents to the bored out of her wits girl at reception, asked her if she spoke English. This is always a sound strategy as it may come in useful later if you need an ally. After the blushes, she confessed that she did and we conducted the rest of this first phase in English and I left my new chum on excellent terms when she directed me to Office Number One to see the doctor.

    Naturally, images of men with white coats and wearing yellow rubber kitchen gloves flashed into my mind and also the possibility of being asked to cough or even bend over. Fortunately none of this took place and the Doc (nice work if you can get it) enjoyed another English chat with me, asked me how old I was, which is always worrying at this juncture, tested my eyes, looked at my signed sworn declaration that I was neither crazy or terminally ill and declared me fit to drive. So that's two charming employees in a row and I felt I was on a roll here as I proceeded to Office Number Two as instructed.

    At this office I presented my ever growing sheaf of papers to a surly fat girl, the very embodiment of I couldn't give a rat's arse, who gave them a perfunctory glance (no eye contact possible) and I couldn't help but notice four or five other women behind her, seated at desks and filing their nails. Anyway, she then instructed me to proceed to Office Number Four upstairs, where I met with a dour (no eye contact) cashier who squeezed $369 out of me, and no, credit cards are not accepted here, in spite of a law that requires all businesses to accept them.

    At this stage I felt a tad jubilant that maybe I'd got away with a bargain, but this was to be short lived as she then instructed me to proceed back downstairs to Office Number Two, where the fat girl glanced at my papers again, demanded to see my DNI (ID card) yet again - this is a recurring theme as I was asked to present my DNI at every office in spite of the fact that they already had copies. After all her hard work, she then instructed me to proceed to Office Number Six and wait for my name to be called.

    This brief respite allowed me to sneak a quick photograph of the surroundings, in spite of the fact that use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited, as if it were a wing of The Pentagon.

    When my name was called after a minute or two, I handed over my wad of papers which were rubber stamped enthusiastically (they absolutely love these devices) and I again noticed several more women sitting around looking bored out of their wits. The rubber stamp fellow then instructed me to return to Office Number Two at which I began to ponder if Office Number Two was responsible for behaviour control and to make sure you were still following procedure.

    Anyway, the fat girl glanced at my papers yet again and demanded my DNI yet again, at which I said she had already seen the the hallowed plastic, but it was no good and she was insistent. By the time my brain began to turn to jelly, she then instructed me to proceed to another cashier at The Office With No Number opposite her desk, to where I proceeded, sufficiently deflated knowing that my pockets were yet again to be assaulted.

    At this point I was a tiny bit narked at being asked for more money and even more narked when $600 was demanded of me, prompting me to advise the miserable, overweight and couldn't give a monkey's clerk, that she was robbing me blind.

    "No señor, it's very cheap"

    "No señora, it's not. Especially nowadays."

    "No señor, it is, especially when amortised over five years (the license term)"

    "No señora, it's daylight robbery and you know it"

    "No señor..."

    I couldn't hear the rest as it simply got lost in a fog of stultifying apathy on her part, so I made my donation to the state and as I was walking away I definitely heard tittering directed towards me and a glance over my shoulder changed her expression in an instant when she saw my don't fuck me face.

    As in a dream, I then floated (being much lighter of cash at this juncture) back to Office Number Two where the fat girl and me went through the same dance yet again, after which she instructed me to take a seat opposite Office Number Six and wait for my name to be called.

    During this entire event I never once glanced at my wristwatch, knowing that I had entered a new dimension, a kind of portal into a nether world and as I was mulling this over and tossing around who I could murder first and why hadn't I brought a blunt instrument with me, I vaguely heard my name being called from Office Number Six, to where I proceeded yet again, dragging my reluctant feet behind me.

    A new rubber stamp man who clearly enjoyed his work, then leafed meticulously through my huge wad of papers, declared them fit for purpose and advised me that my new license would be available for collection in 48 hours, subject to receipt of an email from them in the briefest possible time.

    Before I left, I took the time to thank my new English student chum at reception and as I emerged into the street I was momentarily blinded by the sunshine, where I glanced at my watch and realised that I had only been in the building for twenty minutes, my portal theory being worryingly confirmed.

    • Official Post

    I'm pleased to report that I received an email on Saturday confirming that my license was ready for collection. This in itself was rather amazing since they don't work on Saturdays.

    Correction: their working hours are Mon to Fri 0730-1400 Sat 0800-1100.

    Anyway, without wishing to show too much enthusiasm for their system, I cruised over on the bike on Tuesday, where a different receptionist (not my English student chum unfortunately) directed me to Office Number Six, my second home, where I found a queue of patient souls waiting in front of me.

    I soon reached the front, handed over my papers to a man who showed no interest in why I was there there whatsoever, didn't even glance at me and checked my name off on a well worn clipboard. He then pointed to Office Number Nine some two yards to my left with a huge sign over it which read End of Process. I had spotted this at the beginning of The Process in a kind of Holy Grail moment, wondering how long it would take me to reach it, if ever.

    I then shuffled sideways and lo and behold, before me stood my English student chum who greeted me warmly, shuffled though a small cardboard box filing system and handed over my new five year driving license, but not before asking me sign my name three times on an unknown digital screen.

    I coolly deposited the new license in my wallet whilst she cut my old one in half and as I was about to leave, she insisted on contact numbers being exchanged so that I could assist her to improve her English. I might add that we conducted the whole transaction in English too and it later occurred to me that I may get an insight into the bureaucratic machine in the style of an investigative reporter during an English conversation training exercise in the near future.

    I have a number of observations to make over this little exercise, so I'll mull them over and add an addendum when appropriate.

  • It was all surprisingly fluid and efficient in the end, with the entire process taking no longer than thirty minutes.

    I had photocopied my DNI and driving license, presented my online payment receipts to the national government (about $1000) and then shuffled over to the eye test section after completing a sworn statement about health and mental issues.

    The rest of the process is all clearly numbered with big numbered signs, go here, go there and once I'd paid a further $1600, I presented my impressively large wad of papers to a bloke who's only job appeared to be to leaf through my papers, sign them and tell me that my license would be ready for collection the following day.

    So if you wanted drama, I'm sorry to disappoint you. However, the experience highlights very starkly where public expenditure goes. As I was waiting, I counted how many employees were visible - roughly twenty - and I estimate that there must be a further similar amount hidden away on the floors above enjoying endless tea breaks.

    Bear in mind that the office is only open from 8 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday, you have to wonder what they do for the rest of the day.

    Neither can you ignore the fact that most of this process could be entirely automated. When I renewed my UK driving license a couple of years ago, I downloaded the forms online, went to a photo booth for a mugshot and posted everything to my daughter who then posted it all to DVLA.

    But then, I can't see that happening in a country that thrives off bureaucracy and public spending.

  • After age 70 (or 75?), some US states require an actual DRIVING test. Wouldn’t that be humiliating?

    Bad enough is the accompanying vision test, which all my life I’ve feared failing.

    Jeez! The next thing you know, they’ll forbid texting while driving. Or reading novels. Or watching National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

    What’s that? OH. Never mind.