At Emirates Driving School, first you need to sign up for a PEP test (Dhs. 50). On the day of PEP test, one of the EDC examiners (who, by the way, are very friendly and well-mannered people) will ask you to drive a car and he will sit beside you. You will be driving inside the EDC compound, where there are traffic lights, roundabouts, etc. He will ask you to do a side-parking as well. In the end he hands out a sheet, which specifies what level of additional training you require.
There are 5 levels: Area 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. The examiner will assign you to one of these training programs depending on your skill level.
You then pay the fee and register for the training. Training doesnt come cheap. Make sure you have a budget allocated for this course. The lower the Area number, the more you gotta pay (and the more time you will spend learning). EDC runs almost 24hours a day, you can even book a class at 1:00 AM. Well, quite often you don't have any other choice because it seems they are always over-booked. :-)
Make sure you got the whole day to yourself when you go for registration, the queuing system is kind of slow (or may be they need more counters there). I once had to wait 2 hours to get to the counter. Try to register for all areas together so that you don't need to get back on that queue again.
Also make sure that you have cash with you or a credit card. They don't accept debit cards for unknown reasons (even though the cards will work on their terminals). They do have an ATM machine there, but it didn't work when I needed it.
Due to strategic location of EDC at Musaffah, a taxi from Abu Dhabi to EDC in Musaffah will cost anything between Dhs. 20-30, depending on your negotiation skills. To and fro would cost you approximately Dhs. 50. That's 50 Dhs for each visit (registration, class, whatever) so you better bring all the documents, cash, photos, etc whatever you need for registration process.
Make sure you bring copies of all the required documents because you the coin-operated copier machines are usually crowded, and you also need to have coins - which you don't get from the cafeteria, unless you buy something there that gives you enough coins in change :)
Here's a breakdown of what they teach in each Area:
- Area 1 & 2: Basics - I don't know what exactly, I've never been there.
- Area 3: 45-degree parking, 90-degree parking, Side Parking
- Area 4: Stopping on the Hill/bridge. Turning into another road.
- Area 5: Driving around the EDC compound, roundabouts, traffic lights, free right turn, all kinds of parking.
After completing all 5 areas:
- Simulator: You drive a virtual car. To my techie eye, you are actually driving a Windows XP machine with 6 Dell monitors, which has a steering, a gearbox, and a real car seat (with seatbelt) attached. The 3D is marvellous. It was an enjoyable experience.
-Refresh Parking (free of cost). They teach you the 'tricks' on how to pass the reverse-parking test.
-The Yard test (reverse-parking test)
Each Area has 2 classes in which the instructor sits with you in the car and a few classes where you are on your own, and the instructor talks to you via radio installed in the car (aka "tower"). The "tower" cars have a strange box-like thing with flashing lights mounted on the roof and can move at a max speed of 20km/hr. The cars are all Nissan Sunny or Ford.
The ones who have been driving for years in the real world, and then sadly failed the Muroor test, may find it annoying at times to drive slowly inside EDC, with the instructor giving you a terse warning whenever you increase your speed unknowingly.
Bottom line, the training is really good - the instructors are great. The facilities are great, especially the driving simulators.
Hope this is useful, please post a comment!
Part 3-The Yard Test (aka Reverse-Parking test)!