Yes that time had come again, luckily once a year, if I was Indonesian then every 5 years but it was the Saturday in the year when I have to renew my SIM C driving licence so I can ride my motor bike with relative ease and in the knowledge that having a SIM annoys the police when I get stopped.
For me it, I have to go to Dann Mogot Police station in the west of the city and thats about 20 mins from my place on my bike.
Now nothing is easy when it comes to paperwork and Indonesia and an expat so it best to prepared financially and mentally for these things. Legally I am allowed to meet certain criteria to allow me to have a licence, but I won't lie. I have no idea what that is as I use an agent, don't ask questions and just do what ever it takes.
In England my drivers licence allows me to drive many different types of vehicle and I have from small cars to the biggest German cars, 7.5 tonne trucks, mini buses and other assorted road traffic. Motorbikes, nah that experience waited until I got here but 'technically' I could and now after 2 years or more I most certainly can!!!
Also in England, you apply for your driving licence once you have passed your Government approved driving test, after completing a written test and taking lots of lessons. All of which is a legal requirement. The same law applies to every kind of vehicle there.
Once you have passed your driving test, you then send off the necessary paperwork which you get from the post office, some photos and some money and then 2 weeks later, your licence comes back in the post. I actually think by now you can do all that online. Nice and simple, legal and not stressful.
Back to Indonesia...........
My girlfriend knows someone who knows someone who knows an agent and so she sorted out the time. cost and the things I needed to bring before hand which was nice and the price was 200,000 less than last year which was great as well.
The agreed time was 8am at Dann Mogot licensing center and so we set off on the bike early with plenty of time to spare. Now, for those that never have or will go down Dann Mogot in Jakarta, it is one of the longest streets/roads in the country apparently and runs from Citra land to somewhere in Tangerang and comprises of 2 or 3 lanes and a bus lane, a huge dirty river on one side with BASF, ABC, and other major industries on one side and Cengkareng etc on the other.
Normally so busy it is silly, today was no exception. Just after the flyover the traffic was at a standstill and even the bikes struggled to push through the denseness of the traffic, pollution aside the sun was out in force and it was hot.
It turned out that over a river bridge was a huge amount of mud which had spilled off a truck and blocked the road meaning everything was using one lane to get by. So it took over an hour to get there.
The agent was nice and we went straight into the building. I was lucky to have brought my passport along as it speeded up the process no end.
I dont really know what happens but it involves sitting while the agent fast tracks your application (about 30 mins) and then you go for your photo and fingerprints. Being white and paying alot I was ushered into a packed room full of people waiting to have their photos sorted, Sat in front of the camera, spoken Indonesian at, signed my name and walked out again. 10 minutes. Great. Then I had to wait for 20 mins until my licence had been made.
All in all, just over an hour to get it done. However a SIM C (motorbike renewal) is 60,000 and a new licence is 75,000. As I am only allowed a yearly licence I have to pay the 75,000 fee. It cost me over 4x that to get my licence but at then end of the day, I am legal and it did not take long. Sure I could do it without an agent but why bother. It is a renewal afterall.