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Reibtseb

Car buying advice (Vancouver)

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Reibtseb

Hi all!

So...I received a job offer in Delta. BC...and since I'm heading over there on the 28th of Jan and starting work on the 6th of Feb, I figured I'd start looking at cars...

Can anyone please tell me what I need to do to be able to buy a car once I land? Do I need an IDP/L? Or will my SA license work until I manage to get the test done for the BC license?

Or do I need to have the BC license before even thinking of buying...

Rental might get expensive if that is the case, but since I don't know anyone there I figure that would be the simplest solution? Can you do the driver's test with a rental?

I think that's it for now...

 

Also, where do I look for accommodation near Tilbury, Delta? What suburbs are good and not too expensive? I'd like to be able to go out to the mountains on a weekend...:)

Edit: It seems the company would like me to work on their North Vancouver sites for the first few months. Then they also have a site near Ladner/Westham Island.

Thanks!

Edited by Reibtseb
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Piper

Congratulations on the job offer! Seems like everything really panned out well for you. I’m happy to hear! It also seems that more and more people are securing employment online prior to arrival as myself and my husband and a few other couples recently did exactly the same. The internet sure is a wonderful thing!

We aren’t in Vancouver so I can’t comment on the car scenario, but we bought a car without Canadian licenses in Québec and insurance was less than we paid in SA. Renting a car was just ridiculously expensive and we needed to be able to transport things and get to work. Make sure to bring your driver’s history as well as a letter from your insurance stating that you (hopefully) have a claim-free insurance history!

Enjoy the packing!

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Reibtseb

@Piper Thank you :) Involved a lot of luck or divine providence! Was almost too simple... Especially seeing how little feedback there is on this forum about engineers actually landing engineering jobs. Or I suck at searching haha. LinkedIn is a great tool though.

I hope Vancouver will be the same, but someone told me I need an IDP to get insurance in BC, so I want to confirm, as I saw it wasn't required for some people in other provinces. Not sure that they were trying to buy a car with it though. I have my history and no claims letter, thanks :)

I'm living out of my suitcases on our family farm until I fly, so thank you, but I finished packing last month already haha.

...should probably update my location.

Edited by Reibtseb

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Lyle

Hi @Reibtseb,

Congratulations and I am sure things are well underway now with your departure date around the corner.

We are a bit behind you and I was wondering whether you managed to find anything else out?

We will be based in Vancouver for a month and then settle on the island, so I think it makes sense for us to buy a car in Vancouver and ferry it across rather than renting for a month! Also interested to find out the licensing details if you have any further information to share.

Thanks!

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Reibtseb
3 hours ago, Lyle said:

Hi @Reibtseb,

Congratulations and I am sure things are well underway now with your departure date around the corner.

We are a bit behind you and I was wondering whether you managed to find anything else out?

We will be based in Vancouver for a month and then settle on the island, so I think it makes sense for us to buy a car in Vancouver and ferry it across rather than renting for a month! Also interested to find out the licensing details if you have any further information to share.

Thanks!

Hi @Lyle

Thanks, I actually moved the flight, to this Friday (19 Jan) in order to settle a little more before starting work.

ICBC came back to me; you can buy and insure a vehicle on your SA drivers license. You also have 3 months (90 days) to change to a BC license.

The licensing process as I understand it is: Do the knowledge test, pass it, and book a drivers test. That is, provided you have a proof of driving letter from the RTMC to skip the 3 year learner period.

Also, some licensing centers are open on Saturdays, but not all. I am landing on Saturday morning and planning on doing the knowledge test that day.

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Reibtseb

So I figured I'd give some feedback in case someone is wondering about the licensing process.

So as I mentioned on another post, I did the knowledge test shortly after landing on Saturday the 20th of January, at the Richmond ICBC center.

This basically entails taking your passport, drivers license(s), and COPR to the station along with payment and booking the knowledge test. Your eyes are tested before the test starts. It's a very basic eye test, I imagine I could have passed without my glasses. They also take a pic (of my jet-lagged face...:lol:)

I think I over-prepared a bit for the test though. Spent a few evenings on the farm going through about 4 or 5 sample tests per evening, and downloaded an app that provided sample tests. I practiced those on the flights to Vancouver, which probably amounted to an hour or 3 of practice...

The knowledge test is super easy, especially with being able to skip questions you don't feel like answering.

After you pass they congratulate you, and give you your SA license card (with your BC drivers license number stuck on) back. Note I had my previous license, so they didn't even ask for the RTMC driving record, as together they indicated 10 years of driving. They also ask you to call a number (they give you a card) and book a road test. You can't book a road test online at this stage.

On Monday morning I phoned the number. Spoke to a very friendly lady who asked me where I'd like to take the test. I heard from locals that the Langley test is the easiest, so asked her for that location. Turned out the earliest test was 3rd of April, so I asked her about all the lower mainland locations. She then found that Port Coquitlam had spots open for the Thursday(25th) and Monday(29th). The Thursday was a little too soon, since I only got a vehicle on Tuesday. Booked it for the Monday at 8:45 am.

Decided that it would probably be best to get some lessons in, and use the driving school car for the test. Booked 2 lessons in Poco (Port Coquitlam), one for Thursday and one for Monday before the driving test (started at 7:45 this morning). The instructors were very helpful and helped me notice some habits that the examiners wouldn't be too fond of...The 2 lessons and car use for the test cost me $235 or so.

The driving test is $50 to take. Got there at 8:45, went to stand in a line of 2 people, did the admin (including another photo), and sat down to wait for my name to be called. She actually did a good job of pronouncing my surname. Met the examiner, she was really friendly (such a relief!) and put me at ease, if only a little. She explained that they don't try to catch you out, and just want to see that you are able to drive and park. The driving part was so straightforward. Drove around Poco, making sure to slow down to 30km/h in school zones (missing those is an immediate fail), and drove back to the ICBC and had to reverse stall park. That was it. The lady said I passed, and I was through the moon! Pretty much all my admin done. :D Btw that was a pass despite me rolling through 2 stops...apparently... I did it so slowly she said she could get out unharmed. But rolled nonetheless. Whoops.

Another $31 later and I had my yellow temporary license (piece of paper). I will only get my card license once I present my PR card to an ICBC office, so that won't be soon.

And also, if you fail, you lose your SA license, and they give you a LEARNERS license...so please, don't fail. You can try again in 7 days, but with a L license, you can't drive on your own. So, make sure you are confident driving on the right hand side before you go. I had a rental for 6 days before going, and I made sure I drove every day. I only ALMOST drove onto the wrong side of a 2 lane divided street once...luckily not too busy and I realised before committing haha.

Anyway. That was basically it. Insurance in BC is CRAZY! Old 2010 Golf is around $300 pm. Could buy a car for that money...

 

Edited by Reibtseb
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SunshineGirl

@Reibtseb, really enjoyed reading this post - congrats on your license!

Please may I ask how long a SA Driver's License is valid for in Canada? 

Thanks in advance!

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Reibtseb

@SunshineGirl

Thank you!

In BC it's valid for 90 days from landing. :)

 

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Marcola

Wow amazing...Youre like a speedy conzales with your process:):). Congrats! Please post about all your experiences in Vancouver thus far. I love landing stories:)

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