The $500 sticker
Rego time.... how I used to despise
rego time. It was akin to a visit to the dentist, procrastinated 'til the last moment. Rego time for anyone outside of OZ is the time when you hand over large wads of cash to various insurance, government and motor mechanic sorts of people to register your car. Rego is so much easier to say than registration hence when you mention rego downunder, you'll generally be understood. And shortening words to the point of ridiculousness is a fave habit of us down here.
I decided to head off to get some tyres, as mine were almost down to the last skerrick of tread on the inside. I took the car for a drive on a sunny winter day, down the motorway to a favourite place of mine run by some rather friendly Armenians at Regents Park. They started off in a small very dirty shop many years ago. Things have improved, they're in a larger complex with a lot more workers and Dad drives a brand new Mercedes. Mum runs the books whilst constantly being on the phone and the eldest son still looks after the practical side of things in a small dark office out the back.
Whilst waiting, I went for a walk up to Regents Park strip of shops and found about only three open, the rest with their shutters down or "For Lease" signs in the window. A modern day ghost town. The only thing available for brekky (breakfast: see a shortening again) was a some chicken kebab on Turkish bread. It was an unusual breakfast but nice nevertheless.
New tyres were on by the time I returned and a wheel alignment to sort out the wearing on the inside issue.
Then it was back to the Blue Mountains on the motorway via the car wash. I don't know why I always tend to wash the car before rego inspection. It never used to work before.... I suppose it is some sort of token effort to show how much I work on my car. Picked up some globes at the servo( service station/gas station) and replaced a parking light and a number plate light.
I took it to my local mechanic for a once over to get my "pink slip" which is a roadworthy certificate. This is where I used to have real headaches. Coming from South Australia where one doesn't have to worry about inspections, I found when cominig to New South Wales a "pink slip" usually meant six or seven hundred dollars of work depending on how quiet business was for the mechanic. Beauracracy and mechnics combined and my one time mechanical apathy was never a good thing.
Luckily these days I have Scotty the young guy, who started pretty recently and I was one of his first customers plus sent a few more customers his way. He knows the car, and I know the basics of cars..... so now it is no problems. These days I have a bit more cash to look after it then I used to so things get fixed, so it is always in a state of roadworthiness anyway. But how I used to FEAR
the dreaded pink slip process in my younger cash strapped days, driving old clunkers into the mechanics. A couple of times I bit the bullet and junked the car, getting a less sub standard one. But today, the car passed on first inspection.... my first win.
Then it was off to the local NRMA (similar to the AAA in the US) to get my "green slip" which is basically a pooled insurance fund to cover any injuries caused by cars. First quote was for $480 but then it was determined that I had no under 25 year old drivers and no history of accidents. Quote was reduced by $200 to $280. Another WIN
! One good thing about the Blue Mountains is that it is considered "country" so I don't cop the higher fees they experience in the urban areas. And as I've grown older the premiums have decreased...... I'd rather they keep the $200 and I keep my youth; that's life I suppose.
Then I took the assorted stamped pieces of paper to the state run Roads and Traffic Authority. The fee for this was $247, $47 for the actual registration and $200 for "vehicle tax".... whatever that is. At most city RTA offices there is quite a wait, not so at my local. I took the number from the machine and walked straight to the counter at lunchtime. And yet another WIN.
So rego cost about $548 this year which isn't much different to when I first arrived in NSW some 15 years ago. The 500 or so dollars was a lot more in those days in real terms and really hurt as I scabbled to rake up the necessary cash to pay for the blessed thing.
I celebrated my small wins and the annual gaining of the sacred rego sticker with a box lunch from a nearby chinese restaraunt, it was fun waiting for it. Chinese chefs seem to be LOUD,
constantly yelling in an angry sorta way above the sounds of utensils and woks banging around on cast iron stove tops.
So....... the rego sticker is in place until another year.