RICO’S DIGEST – It’s that time again, time to visit Riteve. My last visit was in January, but today will be my first time during the pandemic.
I could already see the difference, starting with the online appointment. I usually use the Alajuela (Coyol) station, I have found it to be quick, fewer people just before noon or mid-afternoon.
On a couple of occasions, I flew through the process, in and out in less than 30 minutes, from the moment I arrived to the new sticker.
This time, my appointment was more than a week away. Typically I could almost choose any day and time, not more than 2 days before. Not in COVID times.
I am getting ready to give my car, a 1986 Mercedes, the twice over. Oil and other fluid levels, brakes and tires, seat belts and horn, all lights (headlights, tail lights, turn signals, emergency flasher), ownership, driver’s license, last year’s Riteve, payment.
This isn’t my first rodeo, have down pat what is important and what is not, like not all my power windows work, tinted side windows not a problem, and things I can’t control, like gas emissions.
This year may be different.
Stay tuned. I will update this post later in the day to let you know how it went and what to expect on your next visit.
Apart from a few things different, such as the pre-check of the license plate to ensure only vehicles with appointments are let into the lot, the social distancing at the front office, the experience was about the same as pre-pandemic.
On this particular day, according to the staff I spoke to briefly, it was a common day: up to 10 vehicles or more in each of the six lines – about 4 inside in some stage of inspection and at least six outside waiting to enter.
As I mentioned earlier, my experience of before noon or mid-day for shorter lines doesn’t apply during this COVID times, it appears.
On this day, what took me at most 30 minutes from start (arriving at the station) to finish (leaving the station) was a good hour or twice the time.
The inspection was carried out routinely, with a few noticeable differences: little in the way of interaction with the inspectors, no need to get out of the vehicle (actually has always been a Riteve rule), the inspectors only looked in the vehicle but careful not to touch anything, ie seatbelts, steering wheel and sound the horn.
In the past, you were asked to momentarily give up the driver’s seat as the inspector fiddled with the steering, horn, seatbelt adjustments, etc. None today. The seatbelts work? The horn? Move the steering wheel.
The rest of the process was typical: check the tires, lights, suspension, brakes, underneath, emissions.
I got my sticker for 2021 September sticker.