Hilarious incidents & anecdotes when visiting Indian RTO offices
When I did my theory test at the RTO for the learners license, I failed my test once. The second time, the agent was blatantly telling me the answers standing right next to me.
BHPian anjan_c2007 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.
We have been reading on our forum about our several encounters with the RTO offices all over India. As we are all automobile addicts of several hues, with our addiction levels ranging from moderate to extreme ( low level addictions are ruled out at teambhp), the RTO office encounters are unavoidable and have become a part of our day to day living. It’s more so with those of us who own differently-abled automobiles that are defined as those which are 15 plus years old. Here, a routine visit once every five years for getting fitness done for each such automobile is desirable.
Earlier, road taxes were payable yearly for each vehicle we owned. Different vehicle’s road taxes would lapse during different dates and the owner himself or through his agent would have to pay it. There would be crowds at RTO offices hence. The one time road tax implemented by Maharashtra for the first time in India in 1988, followed by others, reduced the footfalls. The online work execution has further reduced the crowds these days. This reduction is subjective as vehicle population has multiplied manifold and maybe in some RTO’s there could still be crowds.
Coming to anecdotes here is an old incident. I had touched the age of 18 and had just got my driving license after doing the 90 day L license phase. As my father was in the Army he kept his scooter at home, but filled up a non-use form to exempt it from road tax payments during particular time periods. This he would do routinely but pay the road tax whenever he came on leave. Oblivious of the fact that I had got my license, the scooter was still in the non-use mode. He was to come on leave soon and upon getting his letter, I took money from my mother and drove to the RTO office to pay road tax. I parked the scooter and one MVI noticed the saffron and smoke grey 1971 Lambretta, MTA 1555 and walked up to me asking for the license and papers. Those days vehicles coming to the RTO office were not many. There used to be a RTO issued booklet for road tax entries (certificate of taxation) where non-use was mentioned for the current period for our scooter. The MVI took me to the office, a fine of some Rs 315=00 was calculated and a penalty receipt issued, for using the scooter while it was under non-use. This was a huge amount, about 10% of a then new scooter’s cost. I tried to reason that I had come to pay the road tax but he would have none of it. Having no alternative, I went home parking my scooter there at the RTO premises. I told my mother who soon took out the fine amount and accompanied me to the RTO office. She gave the MVI a piece of her mind saying you’ve caught a kid and fined him when he came to pay the road tax. She also met the Dy RTO who said that you should have approached me before the challan was written. At this stage he pleaded helplessness.
And we had a lot of RTO inspectors as neighbors till about five years preceding this incident. They were transferred routinely after doing three years at a location. One AMVI’s Mrs (we called her aunty) who were our family friends had told my mother an incident that had then happened at this very RTO office. The State Transport Minister was on a surprise visit. He suddenly put his hands into the two pockets of an inspector who was on duty. Wads of currency notes were found. The poor inspector suffered a massive heart attack and instantly passed away. Perhaps this inspector was an odd man out in the corruption channel, where such cash should have not been restricted to him only but should have reached the higher echelons.
Would like others to share their own experiences about RTO offices. I will share more later.
Here’s what BHPian ArTigor had to say on the matter:
This dates back to 2007 when I was applying for my drivers license, Had got through the mandatory learner period and now it was my turn to visit the RTO to undertake driving test for my license. Getting a license without an ‘agent’ was just not possible unless you had some contact in the RTO, hence I approached an agent who was known to one of my friends, The total cost for getting the license done was rupees 1800 as I was opting for a Motorcycle as well as Car license. Two funny things happened on the day I visited the RTO:
While undertaking the test round, I was first asked to demonstrate my Bike riding on the test track. Took the bike on the test track which comprised of various turns and a small bridge. Rode the bike perfectly with all signals/indicators, the inspector failed me.
Next I was asked to demonstrate my car driving, The inspector asked me to keep my car ready at the beginning of test track, while I was waiting for him to signal me to start my drive, he signaled by his hands to just reverse out of that place and that’s it, no more driving test, I passed the test.
So here is the scenario, After properly riding my bike I failed for the bike and even without driving my car I passed for the car test.
When I asked the inspector about the issue with my bike test, he said I can appeal to his senior. After an hour the inspector asks me to visit some senior inspector, all I do is sit there and wait for 1 hour in his cabin, he asks me just one question, ‘Beta I hope you know the meaning of all the Signboards?’, I nodded my head, that’s it, my bike test is also approved.
Another funny mistake by the RTO in my Classic 350 registration card, is that it mentions seating capacity 2 and standing capacity 5. So legally I can have 5 people standing on my bike while riding it.
Here’s what BHPian Small Bot had to say on the matter:
My first experience with the RTO office was when i wanted to get my Learners license in the mid-2000s.
I asked my brother: “What do I do to get that?” His response was: “Stand in front of the RTO office and look a little lost. Agents will pile up on you in a minute and tell you where to go.” It worked just like that.
When I did my theory test for the Learners license, I failed my test once. The second time, the agent was blatantly telling me the answers standing right next to me, while the RTO folks were looking on, smiling.
And later, because I drove a Maruti 800 10 feet forward and 5 feet in reverse, I was given a bike license too without even being asked to ride one. I think the idea was that if I could drive a car, I should be able to ride a bike. Which is not the case though, as I struggle with geared bikes, but can easily drive any car.
Here’s what BHPian Chhanda Das had to say on the matter:
This happened when I had to re-register my old Mark 4 petrol Ambassador in Lower Assam after bringing it back from the command post in Upper Assam. About why it was in the command post in the first place, that is a long story but you can check it out in the following link.
Anyway, my car was parked inside the RTO complex and was awaiting inspection. The RTO inspector came, took one look at the vehicle, shook his head, wrote something briskly in his file and hurriedly went back. This was before lunchtime. After lunch, I went to check the status of our application which alas, was rejected. Upon enquiring as to the reason for the rejection, I was informed by the clerk that there was some rust on the driver’s door. I could not believe my ears and went back to my car to check immediately because when I had washed it earlier the previous day there was no rust. When I came near my car, I could not believe my eyes because there was indeed what looked like rust. However, upon closer inspection and a rubdown, it soon became clear that it was the typical reddish-brown mud from that area and not rust.
I ran back to the clerk and told him about the confusion but he claimed helplessness since his senior had already filed the report. I then went to talk about this to the RTO inspector himself and he too didn’t believe me at first. After many requests, he came to my car to check again and he too was confused at first. He sheepishly acknowledged that since this was an old vehicle it must be rust. We had a good laugh about it. He asked me to wait in his office where I was served tea and biscuits while he filed a fresh inspection report and I was out of the office within 15 minutes with my re-registered car. All is well that ends well.
Another funny incident happened when my husband had to get his old Yamaha RX100 motorcycle re-registered. If you can recall, those RX100s used to have round rear indicators attached to the motorcycle with very flimsy rubber tube-like mounts which would often break/crack on bad roads. The rear left indicator’s rubber mount was broken and we could not source a proper replacement in time. My husband went to the RTO inspector to talk about it. It turns out that the RTO inspector was my husband’s friend from their APSC (Assam Public Service Commission) days. All he said to my husband in Axomiya (Assamese) was “Eh aaponi gussi jaok. Eibilaak moi sai lom” which roughly translates to “You go home. I will take care of this”. I met that RTO inspector that evening when he came to our home to deliver the re-registration papers of my husband’s motorcycle himself. He and my husband recollected some memories together till he left for his home after dinner.
Here’s what BHPian NH08 had to say on the matter:
Some years back (around 2015), I went to RTO in Delhi for getting two wheeler license. I had been riding for the last 20+ years but as my earlier license (which had expired) was from different state, I decided to get a new license rather than walking on cumbersome transfer/renew path.
As was my habit, I reached RTO very early which proved to be good for me. The riding test was hardly 50 meters long and all I was to do was to take a tight left u turn. I was supposed to do that without touching my legs on the ground and after giving turn signals, these two things I knew beforehand. I even got my indicators repaired as one of them was not working.
Now, during testing, I somehow forgot to give signal but otherwise was ok. When I reached the Inspector, he told me in a serious tone:
‘Actually, you have failed as you did not give signal but as this is my first test of the day, I am clearing you. I don’t want to fail first person.’
And I got the license.
Here’s what BHPian pannangs had to say on the matter:
This happened in 2016, when I had to get my DL renewed. I decided to do all the paperwork by myself and was able to get through to the final submission within a couple of hours. The RTO officer receiving my application recommended that I get a medical fitness certificate so that my license could be granted for a full 10 years.
I walked into one of the shops that had typical paraphernalia you would find in in the vicinity of an RTO. As I enquired for the fitness form, I was directed to a a person seated therein, who I was told is a doctor and will assess my fitness.
I walked up to him after quickly preparing responses to questions in the form, expecting to be asked questions, and, maybe, be subjected to simple exercises to prove my fitness. To my surprise, neither did the doctor ask me questions nor lift his head to look at me. He himself responded to all the questions, stamped a seal and signed the form, and asked for his fees to be placed on the table.
Certified fit without a glance
Here’s what BHPian KiloAlpha had to say on the matter:
Couple of hilarious incidents when I got my license in the early 1990s.
I first applied for a car learners license pretty much a few days after I turned 18. At that time, in order to issue a learners license, an inspector would take an oral exam. So I was called into the exam room for this oral exam, and there were a few RTO staff apart from the inspector sitting in that cabin.
Inspector looks through my application, looks at my face, and then refuses to believe that I was 18 – he was of the firm belief that I was underage. So the first few questions were all aimed at trying to verify my age – questions like which school, when I passed 10th, etc. Then the application did the rounds of all the other staff sitting in that cabin who all looked at it, shook their head, and said that all looks in order so I must be 18. Then the grilling began. The inspector pretty much asked me everything – and I mean everything – about the rules of the road, driving etiquette, etc etc. The oral exam was more thorough than any viva-voce I ever faced in college. I got my learners license.
Then came the driving test a few months later. I had not gone through any driving school or agent, I simply applied, and took my grandfather’s Ambassdor, and my grandfather, for the driving test. The inspector came around, verified all documents, sat in the passenger seat, and asked me to drive around the block. It was a 10 minute drive through suburban streets, and I could see the inspector actually enjoying the drive. At one point, I was turning left, a cyclist tried sneaking through the gap on the left and got an earful from the inspector. I did all I could to suppress the smile.
So, driving test over, inspector just walks off. My grandfather asks me whether I passed, and I shrugged my shoulders and said I didn’t know. So he walks into the office to ask the inspector. A few minutes later, he walked out with twinkling eyes and a small smile playing on the edges of his lips. Yes, I had passed. But the inspector was mighty pissed because after he signed off on the paperwork, he realised that I had not come through an agent or driving school and so he should have failed me.
Here’s what BHPian funkykar had to say on the matter:
Mine was a scary incident when I applied for a learner’s License and took a test, which later became funny and unforgettable. It must have been early 1996. My dad took me to RTO as I believe minors should be accompanied by parents even to obtain LL. We filled form and handed it over, person at the desk directed me to a room where I was supposed to take a written test. I went in and took a seat. There were may be 30-35 people there. I saw most of them with Traffic Sign books etc memorizing something. I never even had seen such a book, but just common sense and interacting with Dad over years riding pillion had understood most of the traffic signs. I was a bit in panic mode just seeing others, felt I am unprepared. Then the instructor came and handed the question paper and a sheet to mark answers. It was multiple choice questions. Apart from school papers, this might be the first-ever such test I was to answer. He explained the instructions and said we have 60 mins to complete it.
There were 30 questions and each had 4 choices. All were fairly elementary and simple. E. g: You are approaching an intersection and need to turn right. A car is approaching at a fast pace from the opposite direction. What will you do? Options were like you go faster and turn right before he reaches the intersection, you will wait for him to pass and then turn right, etc. I was relieved I dint have to ‘study’ to be able to answer these questions. I was able to finish it in just 10-12 mins and handed the paper. The instructor gave a sarcastic look. I was not to leave the room and wait. After a long wait when all were done, we were to wait there until they checked the papers and get back with the score.
Maybe after half an hour, the instructor came in and called my name. I stood up not knowing what was wrong. Then he said, the rest of them can leave. I got more worried and tense. He then came near me and reconfirmed my name and showed my paper and reconfirmed if I had answered it etc. Then he said you have scored 30/30 and you have passed the written LL test. I then sighed with huge relief. The very next moment I understood the rest of 30 odd people who left the room had failed. I was baffled and perplexed how all of them except me could fail, that too the test was so really elementary.
Now, in retrospect after so many years, I can today say I am not at all surprised many of our riders/drivers lack basic sense, laced with RTO corruption, everyone has a driver’s license.
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