It is a hot day – 27 degrees, and Hangzhou seems to enter Summer already. I am back – very tired. The 170+ km express way is not easy to cover. Next time I go to Hangzhou, I won’t drive – bus or train is a better choice – so I can enjoy the nice scene of Hangzhou without the frustration on the crowded road.
My car is registered in Hangzhou. From considering to get a car, to I finally get one, the car plate in Shanghai raise from 38500 RMB to 43000 RMB. So I chose the much cheaper solution – to register in Hangzhou. (Later, the Shanghai car plate price once dropped to 21001 RMB). The pro side is, it is much cheaper. The con is, I need to go to Hangzhou for the annual checking. Although there are many agents who are willing to do it for me, I hate to give my car to someone I don’t know. So I used the weekend to drive there.
The place is not easy to find. They moved from the old place, from Hanghai Road, to the other side of the Qiantang River.
The Qian Bridge No. 3 was closed for construction. The added additional difficulty to find the place. When I am there, it is already 3:10 PM.
It is Closed
When I got to the window, they told me they do not accept new applications already. Their business hour is 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. There are still one hour and 20 minutes left, but they refused to take my application. The parking lot is near empty. It seems the only way to get examined is to come the next day.
There is Always Workaround
At the entrance to the office, there is a “car club”. We stepped in. A woman was practicing Chinese typing at her computer. I asked is she able to help us on the exam. She said “sure”.
We gave her 100 RMB for the service. She went to the same counter, send it in. Very soon, some official came out and drove my car in. 5 minutes later, I got all my documents stamped, and I passed the exam.
This is the typical way government collect money – to close the office early or setup enough difficulty, so people need to go to agents (commercial organization), to get something – like visa, permission, certificates, or license. Since the government is not allowed to directly get any money from citizen, they can leverage a commercial partner to collect the money by providing priority service to the agents. People pay the agents to get better service. The money can be used as “activity fund” for the employees.
This is the only way I can find to explain why they don’t accept application but the office 100 meters away accept it.
Disclaimer: Only the fact part of this article is confirmed. The how it works and behind scene part is my guess based what someone told me.