One of the unexpected pleasures of living in Australia is their DMV aka RTA. Australians may not think going to the RTA is fun experience, but compared to the typical DMV in the States, this place is a well run operation.
First, I like that all the employees use Macs. I don’t know if the RTA has adopted Apple’s slogan ‘Think Different’, but I think it makes a lot of sense compared to Windows. The chance of a Mac getting infected with a virus or trojan is far less than a Windows computer. A Linux / Unix system would probably be possible, but it can sometimes be hard to get third party hardware to work with Linux. Does anyone know of open source drivers for a license printing machine? Probably not. The Macs are connected to a camera, magnetic card reader, EFTPos machine, and printers, in addition to the normal things like the network. Anyway, the Mac is very focused on user experience, and so seams the RTA.
The second thing I like was I only had to wait in a queue once. I got my number when I walked in, but once I got to the window I didn’t have to queue in another line. One person was able to take my documents, give me a vision test, take my photo, and process my payment. When I got my New Jersey driver’s license, I had to wait in six separate queues.
Lastly, the people who work at the RTA just seem nice. Perhaps it’s because Australians are friendly in general, or maybe they are paid a decent wage. In the States, it seems that the typical clerk hates being there, and really dislikes having to deal with person after person all day.
I was able to get my driver’s license, on my lunch hour, without a written or driving test, and they let me keep my US license.
Note: If you are moving to Australia, make sure you can prove you’ve had your license for at least three years. US licenses don’t usually print when you started driving, just the date you last had your license renewed. Drivers with less than three years history have to get a ‘P-Plate’ license, which carries restrictions and stricter penalties.over 6 years ago