Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Singing the RTD blues

Every time that I need to renew my road tax at either the Road Transport Department or the Post Office, I am filled with a sense of trepidation. Both their computer systems are connected, see, so that it is possible to renew the road tax and driving licence at the Post Office without having to step into the Road Transport Department.

But always, I dread having to deal with either of them. Always, these questions run through my mind. Will the RTD's computer be up and running? Will the RTD's computer be slow? Will the Post Office's system be on-line to the RTD network? I've experienced RTD's downtime or slowtime on so many times before that every time my road tax renewals loom, I often say that I've to make time the whole day long just to get them done.

But don't get me wrong; I don't have so many vehicles that it becomes a regular chore for me. No, I just need to do it five times a year (out of 365 days in a year) but it is bad enough. One car under my name, another car under my wife's name, an old car registered in my son's name, my daughter's car which she uses in Kuala Lumpur and of course, we still have an old motorcycle.

Luckily, my trip to the Post Office at Chai Leng Park on mainland Penang went smoothly enough this morning and I was able to catch two birds with one stone. The RTD's computer was running fine and I was able to renew the road tax for both my daughter's car and the motorcycle.

I remember that in November last year, the RTD computer system was running slow and it was impossible for me to renew a road tax at the Post Office. "You'd better go directly to RTD and hope that their system is available," the Post Office staff told me.

And so I went there. And the hall was filled with people. There were more than a hundred numbers ahead of me in the queuing system. At the counters, the RTD staff had displayed a sign telling people that their system was down. What to do but to sit down and wait, and hope for the best? But after about an hour of waiting and the queue numbers not moving, I had decided to go home.

I went back to RTD again after a few days and still saw a large crowd in the hall. But at least, their system was up, and intermittently down. And it was exasperatingly slow when up. Again, I sat down for a long wait. Eventually, my turn arrived and I crossed my fingers hoping that their system would not die while processing my road tax renewal.

It didn't. I managed to get my renewal done. And their computer system went down again.

Now you see why I was so relieved that I could walk in and out of the Post Office within 20 minutes this morning? I've the whole day before me now, thank god for that....

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