You can actually drive an auto rickshaw and get your driving licence made in Gujarat.
A leading city-based doctor recently drove a three-wheeler and cleared the driving licence test. Like doctors, suave corporate executives, who may never take an auto to their offices, are also driving the three-wheeler to get a licence.
The RTO’s driving test rules amended in 2020 allow a person applying for a licence under the light motor vehicle (LMV) category to take the test in a car, rickshaw or any other light commercial vehicle.
A majority of licence seekers fail in box parking and incline in their cars while the same are relatively easy using a rickshaw. In a rickshaw, one can keep an eye on both sides, sitting on the driver’s seat, and simply follow the yellow line painted in the centre of the track
The catch lies in the expansion of the LMV category that earlier included only cars for private use but now includes all transport vehicles less than 7,500-kg in weight such as rickshaws, omnibuses (17-seater), tempos and mini-trucks. Now, there’s no separate transport and private licence for this category of vehicles.
Before 2020, if someone took a rickshaw to clear the stringent test, they were given an LMV licence, albeit for transport and not a private vehicle. This meant that the licensee, if caught by traffic police, was liable to be penalised even for a casual drive with the family in the car.
Now, however, it doesn’t matter if the test is taken in a rickshaw as there is no separate category of a transport vehicle.
State transport ministry officials said at least 20% of applicants are doctors, corporates, and others with white-collared jobs coming with rickshaws, who had earlier failed the test.
This loophole came to light when the RTO officials inquired with a ‘rickshaw driver’ with Dr prefixed against his name when he came for the test. On checking, they found he was a practising doctor. “Our records showed that the doctor had failed the test in his car earlier. But this is just one of the few cases that come to light. It’s not possible to judge the profession by looks,” said a senior state transport ministry official.
The RTO teams have started verifying the credentials of those coming with rickshaws.