Driving In China - Part
Driving In China - Part 1: Getting a License (Try 1) O.k. As with many, many, many things here in China, laws change. Without notice. Some for the better, some for the worse. Some just to piss people all and make things dificult. Yes, I have been driving in Beijing for quite some time without a Beijing driver’s license. (Disclaimer: This is not true) I finally decided to get my license as I can not pay my parking ticket without it. Oh, I have something else to show, next post. I am going through an agent that helps foreigners get licenses. I was advised by a few people not to do this as it isn’t worth the money. I did do this because i am lazy, my Chinese sucks, and I basically didn’t want to be bothered with the running around town, blah blah blah. Well, here are the facts in my case:
- I have to have a foreign driver’s license if I want to get a Beijing license without doing the driving school bs. I have a U.S. License.
- If I want a motorbike license, my foreign license must permit me to drive a motorbike, and I must own a motorbike legally. I own a motorbike legally here, no problem. My U.S. license, however, does not permit me to drive a motorbike. Ouch. (Disclaimer: this is not true)
- New law: foreigners must take a 100 question written exam. You can choose from English, French, Korean, Japanese, and German. Wow, nice of them. Quality of the translations? See below.
- Because the traffic bureau thinks I am too young, I require a practical test. Its not my fault most 22 year olds in this country can’t drive… I have been driving since I was 17. Not to mention 8 months here in Beijing. (Disclaimer: This is not true). grrr.. If you can drive in this city for that period of time without getting in or causing an accident, I think you deserve a license, no questions asked.
- I paid the agent 700 RMB (~US$84) for this service. I was told by a friend that if I did it by myself, I would pay 100 RMB, max. Aiya… My same friend told me she didn’t take a written exam. She got her license in October (?) of 2003.
- I took the written examination today. I failed, along with 60% of the others in that room. I get to take it again next tuesday. Lucky me.
- Study materials? Maybe. In english? no way.
Example questions: 1. A motor vehicle is going to park temporarily in the urban area on the road section where parking is allowed, the distance between trhe outside of its right wheel and the road edge should not exceed: *a) 50cm b) 60cm c) 70cm 2. When you are driving on an expressway at the speed of 100km/hr, how far must you say behind the car ahead? a) 50 meters, *b) 100 meters c) keep a necessary safe distance according to the actual conditions. (You’d think c would be the answer, right? Not in China!) 3. What is the fine if you are caught driving in the publid bus lane? a) 50 - 200 RMB b) 100 - 300 RMB c) 200 - 500 RMB (no idea what this one is…) You can imagine my face while taking this exam. Jee, will I pass the 2nd time? My agent assures me he has “connections”, but if he really did, then why didn’t I pass this time?! This 700RMB better have done something! Regarding the quality of the english translation, well, ehh… What is a practitioner? After reading 3 questions that delt with this mystery “practitioner”, I think it is someone who is learning how to drive. Crazy. So, when is my next try? Next tuesday. :-) grrr