Top Gear Philippines' Associate Editor Paulo Subido recently renewed his driver's license.
He tried three times before getting that shiny, new plastic card. First, he went to Robinson's Galleria, where he discovered that all of LTO's satellite offices had been closed. Next, he went to LTO Pasig, where renewals had ceased because of a broken receipt printer. Spending a good six hours waiting for operations to resume, Subido did make it clear that "the people behind the windows were very apologetic and handled the angry customers with patience and grace."
It was on his third attempt that he finally got his license. He went to the main office on East Avenue, where he arrived at 7:30 a.m. By 11 a.m., he successfully got that card, to which he said, "Sure, the process took more than three hours, but that's not too bad, is it?"
Photo via Topgear.com.ph
Subido took home more than just a card that day, though. He also took home valuable lessons. Lessons he's now sharing to you, oh, expired license-holder...
1) Be early.
I arrived at 7:30am—30 minutes before the LTO opened—and there was already a long queue. Best to get a jump on everyone else. Good thing I had already done my medical checkup the day before.
2) It doesn't hurt to call the LTO outlet beforehand.
This is to make sure that everything is working fine. You will be told what branch to go to if there are any problems.
3) Don't lose any of your receipts.
Or you might end up having to line up again. Hold on to that piece of paper that proves you paid P200 for that "medical exam."
4) If you have any past traffic violations, settle them first before showing up at the LTO.
If you don't, an alarm will go off and you can't proceed to the next step without settling the fine. Some folks have to go to the provinces to settle the fees before being able to renew. Hassle, dude. And if an MMDA officer lets you off with a "warning," it doesn't hurt to check the status of your license to make sure that a violation wasn't listed on it anyway.
5) Be nice.
It doesn't hurt to be pleasant, especially when the people working at the LTO are trying their best to keep things moving along.
6) Don't deal with fixers.
Why? Because you don't have to as the renewal system is more or less okay. Don't help perpetuate corruption.
7) Be patient.
The sooner you come to grips with the fact that you are dealing with a government office, the less painful the experience will be.
8) Make a friend.
I killed time by chatting with the folks I was in line with. It's a stress reliever when you are able to voice your frustrations about the waiting time and have everyone agree with you.
9) Bring snacks.
Because you will get hungry. Trust me.
10) Don't be scared of the LTO.
We see and hear so much news about this agency all the time, but please see things for yourself first and save judgment for later. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was. I was shocked at how things went smoothly for me, especially as I was expecting the worst. I suppose the experience will be different for everyone, but I'd like to think that there are still good people working in government. Some of these folks are at the front line and deal with irate citizens, day in and day out.
Is three to four hours acceptable for license renewal? No, it's not. But things could be so much worse. We have faith things will continue to get better."
This story originally appeared on Topgear.com.ph
*Minor edits have been made by the FHM.com.ph editors