After the introduction of the Screen Test Aid for Learner’s Licence (STALL) last month, Pune’s Regional Transport Office (RTO) had hoped that it would reduce the duration for the learner’s licence application process. However, the pilot project seems to have failed to meet its objective, as applicants now have to wait for more than four hours to take the test, which otherwise would take only half an hour.

A long wait: Applicants say that they have to first stand in line for document verification, then for paying the fees, and an additional two hours for taking the test. Pic/Mohan Patil

The new system was introduced on pilot basis on June 6, to save time and ensure more applicants could appear for the test every day. Every applicant has to answer 15 questions in 10 minutes, including descriptive questions. This means one question has to be solved in around 30 seconds.

Deputy Regional Transport Officer, Anil Patil, said, “It has only been a month since the system was introduced and it will take some time for the candidates to get acquainted with it. Every applicant is given a set of 15 questions and they have to choose the correct answer from four options provided. 30 seconds per question is more than enough to solve it.” According to Patil, out of 3,573 applicants who have appeared for the test, 3,226 were able to clear it. A candidate has to give correct answers to 12 out of the 15 questions to qualify to receive a learner’s licence.

“As this is a pilot project, there have been some technical glitches, but we have tried to resolve them in the same day. If there is any major issue, we report it to National Informatics Centre and it is resolved in the same day. At present, out of the 24 systems, around five are under repair, and will be functional by the end of this week,” he added.

Most applicants, however, claim that they were made to wait for hours before they could appear for the test. Many are unaware of the system, and since there is no one to guide them, they have to first stand in long queues for document verification, and then for the test.

Rahul Shah, an applicant who appeared for the test on Wednesday, said, “It was a nightmare to appear for the exam; the process is not at all streamlined. I first had to stand for an hour to get my documents verified and then another hour to pay the fees for the test. Then, I had to wait in the queue for around two hours before I could appear for the test.”

Another applicant, Ragini Gaikwad, added, “The entire process took more than four hours. Most of the times, people who came through agents were allowed to jump the queue. While the new format of the test is efficient, it is taking a lot for time.”

Vivek Velankar, president
of Sajak Nagrik Manch, a city-based NGO, told mid-day, “It is a great step by the RTO. However, they need to streamline the process and ensure that applicants don’t have to stand in the queue for hours. The new online slot booking system will help save time, but it should be implemented efficiently.”