Friday, October 17, 2008

In which I battle PennDOT

Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (Pen...Image via WikipediaImage via Wikipedia Image via WikipediaI don't drive.

No, I should be honest here. I can't drive.

I got my permit at 16, took driver's ed, and just never took the test. My permit expired. Between carpools and and mass transit, it never got urgent.

But since I don't actually know where I'll be living a year from now, I can't depend on trains and subways and buses being readily available. So I need to learn to drive. Again.

On October 4, I gathered up my ID info and my forms and took the bus to the PennDOT center in town. I signed in, took a number, sat down in the waiting area.

I then proceeded to pull out my things, so I could present them easily. As I checked against the form, it turned out something was missing.

It never occurred to me to see what the requirements to prove state residency are. I have a PennDOT-issues state ID. It never occurred to me that it wouldn't count.

So of course it doesn't. So I left, got back on the bus, went home. I dug up some tax forms and ate lunch, then headed back into town.

I signed in, took another number, organized my things again, and was called up to the counter. The guy behind the counter asked if I had my birth certificate.

Now, the form says I need my birth certificate or two of the other forms of ID listed. I really wasn't interested in dragging my Social Security card and my birth certificate around all day, so I had opted for "two other forms."

The PennDOT guy pointed to a sign on the wall and said that the requirements had changed. That said, I could still take the permit test, and if I passed I could bring my birth certificate in another day and they would issue the actual permit.

Fine. Whatever. I had made the trip (twice) and might as well take the test.

I passed easily, took my eye test, and had my form signed so that next time, they could just give me the permit.

On October 11, I re-gathered all my things, including my birth certificate, and got back on the bus to take get my permit. I fully expected them to make me re-take the test, but I could deal with that.

So I got to the PennDOT center, and... they were closed.

Confused, I looked carefully and noticed a very small sign that explains that, due to the Columbus Day holiday, the PennDOT center is closed on Saturday.

So: still no permit. Maybe some higher power is telling me I'm not supposed to drive?

The good

Well... at least I passed my permit test.


10/18/2008 -- Success at last. I showed my documents, wrote my check, and left with me permit. Any PA drivers want to barter for driving lessons?

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