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Visiting the Kasturinagar (KA-03) RTO - a tumultuous but manageable experience to get a Learner's/ Driver's License without an agent/ driving school

Ask anyone, and I can guarantee that they will have a story (and in most cases, many stories) about their trip, or rather, numerous trips to the RTO for something as simple as getting a Learner's License (LL) or a Driver's License (DL). In this blog, I hope to make your life a tad bit easier by guiding you through the entire process, which may seem easy at first but is full of (overcome able) challenges if you know what you are doing.


I turned 18 in January this year, and besides cutting a cake, I worked on my LL application online. I challenged myself to complete the entire LL to DL process by myself and without the help of an agent or a driving school, unlike what the majority do. The lengthy application process and multiple visits to the RTO, impressed upon me why most people decided to pay a little extra to get an agent to do it for them. Still, I was determined not to pay a single rupee more than the official cost. I succeeded. 

Do note that this answer is concerning the Kasturinagar (KA-03) RTO, and although it will be similar in other RTOs too, you can expect minor differences.


Online application #1


  • Start your application online through the Sarathi portal. Select state - apply online - new learner's license
  • Apply for a Learner's License and upload the necessary details and book an appointment. Many articles will guide you through this. This blog includes ONLY handy tips that you may otherwise not know about.
  • Appointment booking in the KA-03 RTO is open only after 8 AM until some time in the evening. I have still not understood the rationale behind this.
  • Getting an appointment in the next 2-3 weeks is hard, so try and book one as early as you can. Pro tip: wait for cancellations and book your slot immediately when slot booking opens (at 8 AM ). By following this, I applied for my LL on the 20th and got a slot for the 24th. Otherwise, one has to wait for 3-4 weeks usually.
  • Carry the original and copies (at least 2-3) of everything you upload.
  • There are irritating size restrictions on the document you have to upload so be sure to follow it. Use online tools to reduce the size of your files. [google document size reducer]

Visit #1 to the RTO


  • Carry all original documents (+ copies), the printed application form (ensure that your signature + photo are pre-filled on the application form), appointment slip etc.
  • Arrive 30-45 minutes before your appointment time to cut down on time spent in queues. Carry the required amount of money to pay the fees if it hasn't been made online yet (the portal never worked for me).
  • Carry two pieces of identification. A mistake I made the first time I went was carrying only my Aadhaar card and its copies. Although by law, they are required to accept it for both address and DOB proof, the RTO did not agree. An RTI I filed clarified that I was right and they were wrong. But what can we do? 
  • Pay the fees. Collect the payment challan.
  • Get your documents verified.
  • Sit for the test. 
  • The test OTP is sent on your registered phone number. This is mentioned nowhere on the website, and I have seen people without their phones not having an opportunity to sit the test because of this. You CANNOT write your test without the OTP that is sent to your phone.
  • You will see your result immediately after you submit the online test.
  • In 1-3 days, you will receive a message saying that your LL number has been generated. You can start driving ONLY after your LL number has been generated. Be sure to attach the L board signs and always go with a licensed driver as per norms! 
  • You can download a copy of your LL from the sarathi portal. Select state- print license details - print learner's license.
  • If you do not get your LL in 1-3 days, go back to the RTO and badger them. Your file has most likely been misplaced but don't worry. They have to, and will find it! 

Online application #2


  • A similar process - go online and follow all the required steps.
  • This can be done only after 30 days. 
  • Appointment slot booking can often take an additional month so be prepared to drive with an LL for at least two months!

Visit #2 to the RTO (very important, many mistakes can be made here)


  • Take all forms and documents as usual.
  • This is mentioned nowhere on the website - carry your vehicle's original RC and pollution certificate, insurance, and copies of the same.
  • Make sure all details on all documents are correct. Our car's registration number was mistyped on the PUC (pollution under control) certificate, so I had to get out of the line, get another PUC test done nearby, get it with the correct registration number, come back and stand in a long line. All documents have to be valid and NOT expired. 
  • Carry an envelope with a stamp and your address written on it for them to post the smart card to you.
  • Pay fees if you have not yet done so.
  • Get all documents checked and get your photo/ signature taken.
  • Wait in the sitting area for your application to reach the top of the pile. You will be bullied and preceded by driving school agents, so don't be scared to be a little aggressive. 
  • Arrange for your vehicle to be present there with valid L boards at the front and back. 
  • During the test, use both indicators and hand signals for turning, starting and stopping.
  • The test is elementary - you have to drive between cones (with signals), park and reverse. There is ample space to park and can be done by an amateur too.
  • The test inspector will also test you on hand signals either before or after the test. 
  • If you pass, the application will be kept by the test inspector. 
  • Your DL number should be generated within 1-3 days. 
  • If it isn't, it means that your application has been misplaced. Go to the RTO and ask them for an update. I did this, and that immediate evening, my DL number was generated. You can start driving by yourself/ without a licensed person ONLY once your DL number is generated. An e-copy of your license can be generated through Digilocker (an app on your phone) which is a valid document proof in case a cop stops you.
  • Track your application online through the Sarathi portal - select state - apply online - application status to see whether your DL smartcard has been dispatched.
  • Often, it is not. Your envelope with stamp goes 'missing'. Go back to the RTO and physically collect it.

Handy tips:


  • Carry plain paper(s) and a pen to write letters on the spot. I had to do this when my DL number wasn't generated.
  • Carry small change for photocopying documents in the shops opposite the RTO.
  • Go with another person who can run around and get stuff done at the last minute while you wait in their never-ending long queues. For example, my mother got the RC and the insurance from the car when I waited in line because I saw other people who had come with agents giving their RC/ insurance/ PUC documents.
  • Carry a phone/ tablet/ laptop/ pen drive to access and retrieve any documents you may have forgotten or not known to print.
  • Get your medical test done by the doctor next to the RTO.
  • They love files. Put your application in a file ALWAYS (for both LL and DL, but more so for your DL).
  • Everything required can be bought in the area - your envelopes, stamp for postage, files etc. There are many shops right opposite the RTO.


Conclusion:


  • You can get all your work done by yourself provided you know the step-by-step process. It is honestly quite easy, but because of the lack of clarity, it is often a frustrating experience, and you will find yourself at the RTO more times than needed.
  • You can effortlessly get your license without an agent/ driving school if you follow these steps. 
  • If you're lazy/ have no time on your hands? More comfortable to pay a few thousand rupees to a driving school/ a little lesser for an agent. 
  • If you are strapped for cash or just don't see the need to spend the extra few bucks, follow these steps, and your experience will be a breeze!




Comments

  1. Good summary...I will vouche for this ..since I also did the same

    ReplyDelete
  2. Did you have to submit form 1a (medical certificate from doctor) for DL?

    ReplyDelete

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