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Failing to clear the driving test multiple times, Delhiites now turn to mock centres for practice

Six months ago, Sachin learned how to drive a car and bike and procured a learner’s licence so he could get around the city. When the time came to take the driving first, however, he couldn’t get past the first step — ‘Reverse S’ — twice. Undeterred, he signed up at a mock test driving centre, opened by a retired Motor Licensing Officer (MLO) in Rohini, to practice on a replica of the Delhi Transport department’s automated track.

Said the 19-year-old, “I appeared for the test twice in the last two months… I looked at YouTube videos and guidelines on the transport department’s website but to no avail… I heard about this place (mock centre) through friends and I came here to practice as I am nervous about the real one. As I could not clear the first step, I had no idea what came next or what the entire track would look like. Now, I have an idea and hope to clear the test tomorrow.”

The mock centre, called Happy Driving Practice Track, has come to the aid of many like Sachin.

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For Abhinav Jain, taking a practice class and mock test at the centre helped him clear the driving test on his first attempt. “I was very nervous as I’ve heard of people with even 10 years of experience failing the test. But it was very easy to clear it after practicing on these tracks,” said Jain.

Shashwat Singh (20), who is pursuing a BSc in Computer Science from Delhi University, cleared the test on the first attempt. He said, “The trainers at the centre were very informative and guided me on when to stop, make the ‘Reverse S’, ‘Figure 8’, how to adjust the mirror, and when to turn on the indicators.”

The man behind the idea, former MLO Jaspal Singh, said, “I suggested setting up a test drive track for practice to my seniors and ministers as the driving test had become very difficult after it was automated, but they rejected it. I forgot about it then. Now that I have retired, I decided to create a practice track.”

Situated in Rohini Sector 28, the practice track is around 15 minutes from the Rithala Metro station and is surrounded by residential homes. The track size is smaller than the government one but looks exactly like the real one covering all five steps — Reverse S, 8, Red light at Junction and Gradient, Parking, and a proper ramp up.

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Unlike the sensor-fitted concrete boundaries at RTOs, here, the boundaries are made of tyres and the surface with bricks. The centre also had a separate concrete test track for two-wheelers.

“The key aim was to help people clear the test and get their licence. More than 3,000 people, including officials from the CRPF, IAS and even a High Court judge have practiced on these tracks. We even get people from Gurgaon and Noida. If anyone fails the test, we train them for free for about half an hour,” Singh said.

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The centre had two trainers. “We charge Rs 500 per hour. Candidates should bring their car. For those without a vehicle, we charge Rs 300 extra. People still want shortcuts, but we guide them properly. Mostly, what we have noticed is that people get nervous and make mistakes at the ‘Reverse S’ and parking steps,” he added.

Three-four more such tracks have opened in Delhi.

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