Posted on October 21, 2016

Driving schools are seeing substantial drop in the number of applicants, after the government banned more professions from getting driving licences.
And the demand for manual vehicle licence has drastically fallen with the increasing popularity of automatic vehicles in the country. Most women learners opt for an automatic vehicle licence while about half of the male learners still prefer the manual one, say industry sources.
Last month, the General Directorate of Traffic at the Ministry of Interior banned 80 more job categories from getting driving licences, increasing the number of barred professions to some 240. The phased move is part of a national strategy aimed at reducing the growing traffic congestion on Qatari roads.
“There has been a drop in number of learners, since more number of professions have been barred from getting driving licences,” Adel Salem, Manager, Al Rayah Driving School told The Peninsula.
“However, this depends on the type of licences applicants want. While there has been some 20 percent reduction in the applicants for light weight vehicles, the decision has not affected the number of applicants seeking heavy equipment licences,” he added.
The same circumstances were shared by Mohammed Zayn, Manager, Gulf Driving School. However, since most of the job categories barred are related to blue-collar jobs, only a minor setback has been felt, according to the official.
“The restrictions have had small effect on the business. We do see slight reduction in the number of applicants. Majority of the professions included in the barred list are related to labourers and office workers, and they are provided with transport by their companies. Even earlier, we had less number of applicants from this category, hence there is a minor impact,” he said.
With the rising popularity of automatic cars in the country, a vast majority of the learners are taking driving classes to obtain automatic licence. Given the heavy traffic jams, people usually find driving an automatic vehicle easier compared to manual cars.
“Majority of our learners, between 70 and 80 percent, are decided on taking licence for automatic vehicles. Also some 30 to 40 percent of our learners are women,” Zayn said.
“At Al Rayah, almost all the female learners, i.e. 99 percent, are taking classes for getting automatic licence. When it comes to males, we have equal number of takers, 50 percent, for both types of licences,” said Salem.

source: The Peninsula

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