People’s experiences are bound to be different but here is the process and the costs for Mohammed (not his real name) who has recently got his truck license in Fujairah.
Mohammed is from Pakistan. Like many of his compatriots he works as a gardener in Fujairah and he came to the UAE without any driving experience.
Mohammed went to a driving school in Fujairah every day (excluding Fridays) for 70 days.
Each 30 minute lesson cost Dh85.00 so this totaled Dh5950.00
It must be rare for someone to get their license on the first occasion in Fujairah.
Mohammed had 2 off road tests and 5 tests on the road—7 tests in all to get his driver’s license.
These 7 tests were scheduled on Wednesdays. After failing a test Mohammed wasn’t able to take another test until the following Wednesday.
Each test took 10 minutes and cost Dh150.00 each, totaling Dh1050.00
The license card costs Dh280.00 and takes a week to process.
Mohammed does not own a vehicle (just a bicycle) so because of the distance, every day he got a shared taxi which cost Dh10.00 (Dh5.00 each way).
Transport for the 70 instruction days, the 7 testing days and the other day to collect his license has cost a total of Dh780.00
Apart from the time off from work on these 78 days to undertake the training and testing, it cost the following:
Driving Lessons Dh5950.00
Driving Tests Dh1050.00
Driver’s License Dh280.00
Transport Costs Dh780.00
Total Cost: Dh8060.00
The total amount of Dh8060.00 is a hefty outlay for Mohammed who earns Dh2300.00 each month from gardening. Out of this amount he pays Dh1500.00 each month for rent (he lives in a house with many others) and Dh350.00 a month for food.
The amount of training and the number of tests Mohammed took seems to be ‘par for the course’ in Fujairah. On one day when he went for his driving test only two out of ten applicants passed.
In many countries a driving instructor will not allow their student to go for a test until she/he thinks they are ready and will succeed. They even advertize the pass rate of their students on their first test as a way of demonstrating their teaching excellence. With Mohammed failing six times before he was successful on the seventh attempt, it appears to reflect on the quality of the instructor.
Getting a driving license is a big outlay but Mohammed is hoping that scoring a driving job will increase his monthly salary. Many of Mohammed’s friends from Pakistan earn a similar amount (Dh2,300.00) or less for gardening six days a week for ten hours a day in the heat.
Mohammed is single but most of his fellow gardeners who are married are not able to bring their wives and children to the UAE. At present one needs to have a monthly salary of Dh3,500.00 to be allowed to bring a spouse to the Emirates but much more would be needed for rent in a better house and to cover the cost of food and utilities.
Dr Geoff Pound