Muscat: Motorists aspiring for a driving licence in Oman can now start taking lessons and tests on automatic transmission vehicles.
A source at Royal Oman Police (ROP), speaking to the Observer, said: “The decision to allow men to take driving lessons and tests on automatic cars was announced in January 2018 following demands from instructors and other members of the society. A period of almost one year was given to all stakeholders to prepare themselves, especially with regards to the type of vehicles, before the implementation of this decision.”
“All licensed motorists in Oman are already allowed to own and drive vehicles of their choice, both automatic and manual transmissions. Until now only women were allowed to take lessons on automatic transmission vehicles,” he added.
An official of a leading driving school earlier said that aspiring drivers can start taking lessons on automatic vehicles at no extra cost, but they will have to wait until January 2019 to appear for driving examination.
A statement released by ROP in January 2018 said that the decision on automatic transmission vehicles came in response to requests made by driving instructors and individuals, and based on a study conducted by the Directorate-General of Traffic.
“I have been waiting for this day because it is much easier to use automatic transmission vehicles and also bit unfair for men to be denied this option. Finally, the day has almost come and let us hope getting a licence will be easier now,” said Joyedeep Sharma, who had two unsuccessful attempts with manual vehicles so far.
“This system should have been introduced much earlier as automatic transmission cars are widely available and used now,” said Khalifa, an instructor in Darsait.
“There was this feeling that motorists who drove a ‘manual’ vehicle could easily drive an automatic car but not vice-versa. But today most people use automatic cars, which have become affordable too,” said Sara, a woman driving instructor. “It is good they have both the options now,” she said.