Monday, August 16, 2010

LiB @ the Traffic Department #1: The New License Plates…

So after all these years of writing articles about the bad driving habits of Bahrainis, it has been long overdue to write about those mongrels that regulate and enforce traffic laws. Being the sissies that they are, they apply NO fairness whatsoever in applying rules and bend them, hell even bastardize them, to the extreme and make sure that they are enforced on a selected group of people only. Yes, my friends, we will be taking on the Traffic Directorate today in addition to dissing our regular stupid drivers. Being Ramadhan and the timing to talk about moronic drivers and the douchebags who enforce rules on some only couldn’t be any better…

I will be talking about real-life situations I have encountered with the traffic police in different situations and how those were resolved…

Okay so we got new license plates. To me personally, I thought they look okay. I mean not everyone liked them and I didn’t love them. But the fact that a lot of people who didn’t like them is owed to the numbers being much bigger and easily identifiable. Of course those who speed and run people over then escape from the scene won’t like them. I mean, come on, how would you get away with killing people when your numbers can be easily spotted?


Our new license plates (sample)


So I was at the traffic department the other day and thought “hey since I am here, why not try and go for those new plates?” thinking they were made there and then on the spot according to newspaper reports on the first few days of the launch of the plates. Boy I was wrong!

First of all, the press conference and their PowerPoint press release which is available on their website mentioned that you can get and fill the application form for the new plates at three different locations at the site, the car licensing and registration section in the main building, the vehicle inspection section and the traffic operations (accidents) section in the outside building. The last one, being the closest, was a good option so I parked my car and walked into that operations building ( by the way, that’s the main center for 199 hotline which they NEVER answer). I walk in to see a bunch of traffic policemen sitting there and I went to the reception and asked him about the form and process to obtain those new plates so he told me to check with one of the officers at the desk. And our trip with bureaucracy at its best begins… So I go to one of those pieces of chalk and ask him about the plates. He said that this wasn’t the right place and that I have to go to the vehicle inspection section in the other building outside. What a way to flush press releases and official statements down the fucking toilet.

I start walking in the humid July air which was one of the hottest months since Bahrain started officially recording temperatures since 19-fucking-02. I arrived at the other building half-drenched and ask for the form so was given one and I filled it. Then I thought (hmmm why not do the same for my other car which my wife uses since it’s in my name and will get this over with). So I fill a second form and thought that I will bring the other car later on tonight as they are open till 10pm –or so the newspaper said, which I started doubting since nothing mentioned in the papers made any sense- and went to pay the fees, of course that’s all what the traffic department will ever make you do, PAY PAY PAY. What, you want a new driver’s license? FUCK YOU, PAY ME! You want a new license plate? FUCK YOU, PAY ME! Oh you got involved in an accident even if it wasn’t your fault and want a report? FUCK YOU, PAY ME!

After paying, I was given a couple of receipts and was told to go to this demented building right outside the inspection place... Take a good look for one day you WILL go there and WILL suffer like a dog…

The Zombie House


Went in, a bunch of anorexic girls sitting at the counter, this place looked like a zombie house, a zombie house that produced number plates. I handed the traffic police receipt to one of the she-zombies and entered a few details into the computer and just as I was expecting here to tell me to bring my car for installation, she stamps the receipt with an appointment one week from that day between 4-8pm. What? I thought it was being done within minutes. Apparently, every single person in Bahrain thought of “getting it over with ahead of the rush later on” which caused all this mayhem.

One week later I left work and arrived at the zombie town within the traffic department and of course no one tells you anything so went into the zombie house again and asked the lady where to have my plates installed. Without looking at me she just said: “Go outside”. I mean what is outside and who to talk to? No answer, just another: “Go outside they will help you there”. Of course the zombie bitch failed to mention that my car had to actually be inside their designated parking lot, apparently that’s where the zombies get their power from feeding off our brains otherwise they would be powerless if they left the boundaries. Magic! So anyways I go outside and find a guy walking with a bunch of plates around and people following him like zombies. I told you it was a zombie place but you just laughed at the first lines I wrote about this place! I go to the guy and give him my receipt and he said that there was another guy collecting those receipts and pointed at someone else. I went to that idiot and he said go stand by your car and I’ll collect the thing. I told him that my car is on the other side of the building and he said they wouldn’t serve me unless I was within the confines of their boundary! So I walk back, take my car towards the parking lot only to find that there was a huge line of cars waiting to get in as the lot was full and they were letting ppl in on a car-by-car basis. After an hour and a half of lining up I finally made it into the lot and parked my car. Got down and the receipt guy was there so gave him my receipt. The suffering doesn’t end there. Here is how they work:

1. Guy comes by your car you have to be standing next to it otherwise he won’t collect the thing off of you.
2. Guy collects everyone’s receipts and that gets fucking delayed because of the moronic zombies following him and obstructing him from collecting papers from people who are actually human and naïve enough to abide by the rules.
3. The guy goes into zombie central (the house) and comes back out to collect more receipts from people who just entered the lot.
4. Another person goes in as soon as he’s done with distributing the batch of plates in his hands.
5. The dude brings the new plates and another set of suffering starts, he starts calling out names according to the plates and the receipts attached to them.
6. Once the owner confirms his presence, the dude does NOT hand him the plates (yaza3am security, go fuck yourselves), he calls for a laborer to hand him the plates and install them on the car. Of course, if all laborers are occupied then everything will be on hold until one frees up then gives him the plates and that’s why it gets even more delayed.
7. The laborer goes to your car with his toolkit (and sometimes an assistant! Dunno why!) and removes the old plates, installs the new one. Oh and it is worthy mentioning here that if your car does not conform to the holes on the plates (yes YOUR car MUST conform to the holes and not the other way round), then drilling of your bumper/car body would be required and they will make you new unwanted holes in your car to install the fucking plates.
8. You drive out with the new plates and a few cells blown up from your brain.
That whole process took me around 3 hours. 3 FUCKING HOURS. And the worst part is that ALL of their employees do NOT give a fuck about your complaints or concerns. The traffic police however were open to suggestions. It was the first time I see a public sector entity especially one as arrogant as the traffic police become more caring than a private company who does NOT give a flying fuck about you. Laa and on top of all that, you are a fucking paying customer. Basically the way they talk to you is that they’re telling you to go fuck yourself in an indirect way.

What also pissed me off is the lack of coordination and organization with those mongrels. I mean some people who came 30 minutes after you got their plates immediately after processing the batch, after the dude walks in he comes out only for you to find out that your plates aren’t with him and some people here after you got theirs! I don’t know for the life of me how they work. Completely unorganized.

Does it all end there? NO! I have a second car remember? So I decided to leave it till Thursday morning as the plates are already done and it’s a matter of installing and I know what to do this time. I was wrong AGAIN!

I go there Thursday morning thinking that the line would be much less and that day the car had a problem with the AC the car kept heating up so I had to turn the AC on and off again and again and again as it was fucking hot and it felt like a sauna. Pardon me, it felt like a fucking giant hair dryer coz a sauna doesn’t blow hot air at you! After one hour I make it into the zombie parking lot and gave the receipt to the guy and I waited for two fucking hours this time until my plates arrived. I was there from 9:30 am and a lot of batches came and went and my plates weren’t with them. They close down at noon and there were only 30 mins left until they closed for midday break as the Ministry of Labor imposed a regulation banning laborers from working under the sun from 12-4pm. Anyways I was happy to see my plates with that last batch as they announced that they will not be bringing any more batches. My plates were before last. What luck! Anyways we waited in agony as laborers’ availability was crippled do to them being slow under the sun and being two short after getting sun-stroked. As my plates came up only thing remaining was for one fucking laborer to free up and have mine installed. Their baboon supervisor came and halted the whole thing announcing they will not be installing any more plates. I got furious and told the guy that only two of us were remaining and pleaded him to just finish us and then stop. He wouldn’t listen and gave me his back as he walked towards the air-conditioned zombie house. I tried telling him that I was there since 9:30 am and I was no less than the laborers in standing under the sun for that long but he didn’t even look at me. The Zanzibarian bushy-bearded son of a bitch just went in so I went right behind him and told him that this was the only opportunity I had and I was working abroad. He said “shekho9ny feek ennek teshteghel barra3?” I told him that this was the only chance but to no avail. Here I started contemplating burning tires to get what I want but that’s just not me! Maybe if someone else was in my shoes he would have started talking about this as a government plot and conspiracy but am no conspiracy theorist, not extensively anyways! I shouted and screamed at the guy and everyone looked at me and still he wouldn’t give a fuck. Then their manager came (judging by the tie he was wearing and started bossing everyone around) and I tried explaining to him that only two of us were left and still nothing. They asked if I was willing to take the responsibility should anything happen to those laborers and when I said “Yes I am” they got shocked and saw how determined I was to get my transaction done. Needless to say I still got refused.

I didn’t want my car to leave that parking lot otherwise when I came back at 4pm I would have to line up like a bitch again. So I called my brother and asked him to come pick me up. I went back at 4, thing is, the receipt was with them and so were my plates. I tried to talk to the guy to let him know that I had no receipt and what happened to me at noon but he said “Sorry no receipt, no service” just like that! So I go into zombie central for one last time and this time I was really nearly gonna murder someone and when the anorexic ho’ saw me she remembered me from shouting earlier on and I told her where my numbers were she said that they would be out with the first batch. I told her that I should be served first and since my numbers were put aside anyways bring them out as laborers were there and available. No use, she said to go outside and wait until the first batch came. Went outside and waited for a whole fucking hour to get the first batch out then ppl started following the guy again like a zombie wanting to feed on their victim. No my plates weren’t the first ones but they were there with the batch. Waited another half an hour until they got installed.

Seriously, what the FUCK is up those idiots’ asses? They don’t give a fuck about you, mistreat you and your voice does NOT make a difference whatsoever.

The whole experience was shambolic and I wouldn’t want to go through it again. A couple of weeks later I saw this in the newspaper and it talks about the same situations I have been through.

Then this happened on the first of August:

Good! But what about us who got humiliated and degraded? If it were people who burnt tires, they would get locked up then released on a pardon. No one else damaged would get compensated. It is always people like us who are ALWAYS stuck in the middle and have to put up with both the government and the dissidents and it is always us who pay the ultimate price because our voices don’t matter to anyone.

It seems that the new trend for Bahraini service provision is to degrade and humiliate their paying customers. You are making them a living yet they will make you feel like shit. Forgetting that the customer is king! Just like that VIVA fiasco (don't get me started on that shit! Standing for 4 hours to get an already pre-booked number is NOT cool! But that's for another LiBbie!).

Screw this shit, I’ll go play GTA, at least there I can run people over, one day I will do it in real life…

6 Comments:

Blogger mackid said...

I clearly remember the news that replacing the plates in the first year will be free and in the second year there will be a charge of I think BD3. What did you pay for then ?

3:21 PM, August 16, 2010  
Blogger LiB Team said...

Nope, Mac, they clearly mentioned from the start that you have to PAY PAY PAY.

The cost is BD 3.500 per plate so for the pair you have to pay BD 7.

Even in the presentation it mentions that there is a cost of 3.5 BD per plate.

Nothing out of Moroor comes for free ;)

7:00 PM, August 16, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's so funny, last year I used the post office to register my wife's car (yaza3am asra3 and easier); few weeks later they sent me a letter to visit them in the directorate!

I went there and they told me that you are trying to register your car for December while it is according to their records is November car;;; I said no, I even have last year badge (this shit you place on the glass from the inside) so they asked me to bring it. I had to drive back to Budaiya where I live take it off the car and back to the fuckers to prove that they are nothing but bunch of Assholes.

What should have taken me 5 minutes to do, wasted more than 5 hours of my time. and the fuckers didn't even bother to apologize.

2:03 PM, August 17, 2010  
Anonymous Ahmed said...

hey, This is the first time that I visit LIB and I love it. Two thumbs up for the creative writing style. The zombie house was a killer.

2:22 PM, August 19, 2010  
Blogger LiB Team said...

Anon, they are a bunch of inefficient bastards and they will NEVER apologize to you for wasting your time, that was their main objective and they want to make you suffer and/or beg them to get things done, they thrive on that and they enjoy it.

Ahmed, welcome aboard and glad to have you! Thanks for the comment and glad you liked the zombie house thingy :)

1:30 PM, August 21, 2010  
Anonymous Muneer said...

Liked the zombie house word, style of writing is kick-ass :) Like mackid said, it was there in the papers that the first year, installation of new plates will be FREE. But, they changed the rules to pocket the money. The papers turned out to be a bunch of crap lies.

You should have also mentioned about the useless driving instructors, the reasons for which we have such maniac drivers on the roads.

1:20 PM, November 08, 2010  

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