With reporting from Riham Sheble
Hundreds of driver’s education students turned up for lessons and exams at one of Qatar’s biggest driving schools this week, only to find it had been closed suddenly.
Al Rayah Driving School in Al Messila shut its doors yesterday after receiving a court order from the Supreme Judiciary Council, which banned anyone from entering the premises.
Students who went there have found the gates locked, with copies of a legal notice attached and a note saying the school has relocated.
Speaking to Doha News, some of them described “confusion and chaos” because they had not been given any notice of the move.
The court order came from the judiciary council’s office of confiscation, evacuation and selling.
It warned of legal action if anyone tried to open the door or enter the complex.
A separate handwritten sign said that the school had moved to Al Dallah Driving Academy – across town in the Industrial Area.
Before it was shut, Al Rayah Driving School held lessons for up to 300 drivers each hour.
The orange and white learner cars were a regular feature on the residential streets of Madinat Khalifa and Bin Omran.
Doha News was unable to reach anyone from the school to comment on why the site was closed.
However, the popularity of the school caused congestion, particularly in the early mornings and evenings, provoking complaints from neighbors.
One student, AR Nasser, was scheduled to take his test at Al Rayah this morning.
But he said he was called yesterday afternoon by his instructor, who warned him that the site had been shut down.
When Nasser went to the school yesterday afternoon, he said the gates were locked and he saw hundreds of people standing outside.
“It was so sudden. I wanted to find out what had happened. But there were no officials at the school to talk to – just some signs in Arabic on the gates.”
He added that many others who had shown up for classes seemed confused about what happened.
“One guy had paid thousands of riyals to the school for his lessons and he thought he had lost all his money. He was sitting on the ground, crying.”
Nasser, who speaks and reads Arabic, said he translated the signs to tell the crowds about the new location.
At 5am today, Al Rayah had buses ready to take people from its old location to the new site for tests and lessons.
“It was chaos – there was total confusion there. No one knew what was happening and they were all shouting,” Nasser recalled.
After some five hours, he eventually took his test and found out he passed.
Another student was also shocked when he turned up at the school earlier today for his lessons, and found it closed.
The Indian engineer, who asked not to be named, told Doha News he had paid QR3,000 for lessons and was halfway through his course.
“I was so surprised. I didn’t know what was happening. I called my instructor and he told me about the new location. My lesson today was cancelled – now I am waiting to see when I can get more lessons,” he added.
Outside the school’s gates earlier this morning, there were around a dozen taxi drivers, explaining what happened and offering to take learners to the new school.
“It’s far for them, but it’s good for us!” said one taxi driver.
Were you affected by the closure? Thoughts?