The recent Coromandel Grey Power newsletter contained an article on driving by the elderly and there have been several references to this subject in the national magazine over the last year or so. I would like to air the following gripe on the matter which has been annoying me for about five years or more, as follows:
In this digital age, one can acquire, amongst many other things, a passport or it’s renewal on line without ever having to leave one’s abode, and what document has much more significance than a passport?
Yet when renewing one’s driving licence (every two years when one is octogenarian) one has to go to an agent in person to pay the few dollars and have a photo taken. (I am not including the matter of a doctor’s certificate, which has already been discussed and is probably not an unreasonable requirement).
When I turned 80 years, I received the NZTA reminder in an envelope marked “save time, do it on line”, which one cannot do! In my own case, I have to drive at least 90 minutes each way to the AA office in Thames, which trip is more tiresome each time due to heavy traffic on poor/bad roads and the rapidly escalating cost of fuel!
I wrote to NZTA, copy the AA, and complained about this about five years ago. NZTA waffled round the point and said the envelope message concerned registration renewal etc.
The AA pointed out that I could go to Whitianga instead of Thames – a mobile office is there on the first Tuesday of each month! Big deal, the driving time to Whitianga in my case is barely five minutes less, and I had already been told that the event was so busy that I should expect long waiting times. Great for old people standing around in inclement or very hot weather!
What makes the point even more annoying – my last two trips to the Thames office have taken barely five minutes each time because the very kind and pleasant lady behind the desk took one look at the licence and then me and said the old photo was good enough, swiped my card, filled out the temporary licence form and that was it! What an enormous waste of time, money and stress! The same process as passport renewal could be equally well applied, as the doctor’s report is also submitted digitally.
I submit that this is ageism at it’s most rampant; it is probably ruralism as well, as a town dweller probably has no problem in dropping in to an agent at some convenient point and with no significant extra cost. Maybe Grey Power would like to beat on this drum?
End of grumble.
David (full name withheld for privacy reasons)