Fri, 19 Apr, 2019

O L Merces Travels: 25 years behind the wheels

O L Merces Travels, originally a travel agency from Vasco that later added motor driving school to their services, today boasts of 25 years of operation at 8 locations with 3 in-house instructors and 5000 plus happy clients who passed their tests, got driving licences and are behind the wheels in India and abroad

11th February 2019, 02:56 Hrs

BHARATI PAWASKAR  


Driving in Goa is not easy, with those narrow, village roads that go uphill or slope down with haphazard crossing of animals and lazily walking humans. Teaching one to drive in such circumstances is really a hard task; however, there are motor driving schools with reputation and history that boast of happy clients and wonderful feedback. O L Merces Travels from the port town Vasco is one of them. Having started as tour operators and travel agency, that added motor driving training to their services much later, in 1986, Merces Travels is today one of the reputed driving schools in Goa.  

“We celebrated 25 years of successful operations last year, in 2018,” states Theresa Menezes, who joined her husband Michael Menezes 15 years ago in the business and today looks after the administration. “My husband Michael took over the travel agency from the original founder when he expressed his wish to close it down and has been running it successfully in this cosmopolitan city since then,” recalls Theresa.  

“We teach to drive four-wheeler and have Scorpio, Swift and Waggoner for the purpose. It is a 26-day course, barring Sundays that means a person can learn driving within a month’s time with us. This is inclusive of all processing of licence and Smart Card. We also undertake renewals of licences and all licence-related work, transfer of vehicles (RC), fitness of vehicles etc. We also help our clients for obtaining NOC to other states in India and documentation of all vehicle related work, RTO related activities and renewal of vehicles,” briefs Michael, owner and proprietor of Merces Travels.  

Apart from offering the above services, Michael also undertakes processing of international licence, declaration of certificate on State Licence (Portugal, Australia) for those who wish to drive abroad. 

Merces Travels offer other services like offering coach for picnics. They also help in the hire of AC or non-AC coaches. This travel and tour agency also organises sightseeing tours of North and South Goa on a daily basis.  

Located in the heart of the city Merces Travels has a footfall of 50 clients on an average per day, who step in for various reasons – from learning to drive a four-wheeler to securing a learner’s or paccka licence or to book a coach for a private purpose. “For four-wheeler driving, our instructors begin teaching at 6 am and close by 6.30-7 pm, covering 10-15 persons per month. The training session is of 30 minutes each,” briefs Theresa, adding, “We don’t work on Sundays.”  

Merces Travels assists their clients in obtaining professional driving licences for taxi drivers and to women who wish to self-drive their cars. Today, a number of motor driving schools in Goa offer these type of services and there are more cars on the roads compared to what the situation was 10-15 years ago. “There was a time when Vasco has very few driving schools and ours was prominent among them. Today our city has over a dozen driving schools. Growth and development is necessary in all fields, if our nation has to prosper but let me mention with pride in our heart that over the years, with the promptness in services and our ready-to-serve nature we could earn the trust and goodwill of our clients, which will go a long way in the business graph of Vasco,” concludes Theresa.  

This is possible because of hiring good instructors, who develop a good rapport with the customers and go out of their way to help them learn. “Some of the clients are reluctant to take the wheel in their hands and need a moral boost that our instructors often have to offer. Those who are over-confident need to put brakes and controlled, so that they do not turn out to be irresponsible drivers on road. Our seasoned instructors are well versed in taking care of this aspect too,” smiles Theresa.  

Asked about the peak seasons, if any, for learning driving, she shares, “There is no peak season as such. However, yes, during summer vacations or Diwali holidays, people do register to learn. June is the month for engineering students, as their semesters are over by then. Students, who have passed their 12th standard exam, come in May.”  

What is the criteria for helping out outstation clients who wish to seek their licences from Goa? Theresa replies, “If they have proper documentation while applying for licence the RTO considers their case. There is 30-40 days of processing period after the application is submitted to the RTO. We make sure that the person is well versed in driving, knows the rules on the road, and is a careful driver. It is our responsibility to train the person before we put him on the road, as otherwise it is risky not only for his own self, but for others’ lives too, who are on road.”  

So enter her office, get enrolled, start the 26-day course, get behind the wheel, learn, answer the driving test and get your licence from the RTO. If you are tired of self-driving and want someone else to drive your family to a picnic spot on a cool Sunday, just call Merces Travels, or walk in to book, hop in their AC coach and take it wherever you wish and have fun with your family. What are you waiting for?  

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